KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - 8-year-old Brian Bartlett was about to start the 4th grade on Wednesday. On Saturday, someone, or several people, shot up his house at 83rd and Tracy, killing him and hurting his mom.
On Thursday, a carload of three men shot at a police officer. The dash cam leaves you amazed no one was hurt.
A week before, 25-year-old social worker Erin Langhofer was killed by stray gunfire when someone fired during First Friday festivities in the Crossroads.
“You have a bunch of young people that have no better recourse than to run around shooting each other and that’s sad,” Pete Edlund, retired KCPD Homicide Sargent, said.
Edlund was a homicide Sargent in 1992 when the feds gave the KCPD a 6-month grant to test a theory. Would seizing guns reduce gun crimes?
For 29 weeks, they paid four officers to patrol exclusively for gun detection, in just one precinct. Gun seizures went up 65% in that precinct. Gun crimes went down 49%.
“They just wanted to see if it was an effective concept,” Edlund said. “I think it was, on a small scale.”
KCTV5 News asked, “So why not employ that across the board?”
Edlund laughed saying, “That’s way above my pay grade. I don’t know.”
He speculates funding was a big piece.
But nowadays, applying it would have more limits too. The chief of police recently bemoaned looser state laws on concealed carry. Across the street, the new mayor says he’s now pushing for a local law to make it illegal for minors to be in possession of handguns.
“Federal law already does that but usually the US Attorney’s office doesn’t bring that type of charge because they don’t typically prosecute minors, particularly for misdemeanor offenses,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
Two of the three men charged with shooting at the officer were 18-years-old, not minors. Same goes for the man charged in the first Friday shooting, he was 18.
“I don’t think he picked up his first gun at 18. What we have to do is break that cycle that they’re getting into at too young an age,” Lucas said.
Edlund is all for it. A former cop and a marine who got shot in Vietnam, he’s pro-gun, but not anti-gun-control.
“Sadly, the firearms lobby has pushed it to the point where, to the point of absurdity,” Edlund said.
“We understand that none of these solutions separately will solve everything. But all of them together will start to at least let us dent this situation,” Lucas said.