Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he crunched the numbers recently and determined that since he was born 36 years ago, 5,000 people have been murdered in Kansas City.
Most of those deaths, he said, involved firearms and the victims tended to be Black.
“It’s an epidemic,” Lucas said.
His remarks came during a panel hosted on Thursday by Giffords, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on gun violence named after former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting, and Everytown for Gun Safety.
Lucas was joined by Akron, Ohio, mayor Daniel Horrigan; Durham, North Carolina, mayor Steve Schewel; Everytown for Gun Safety president John Feinblatt and Giffords executive director Peter Ambler.
The discussion was advertised as a push for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to expand background checks. The Democrat-controlled House earlier this year passed a measure to expand background checks but the measure faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where there are not enough Democrats to clear the filibuster without help from Republicans.
Lucas’ analysis would indicate nearly 139 homicides have occurred on average each year since the 36-year-old mayor was born. The Star has not independently verified Lucas’ figures.
The average number of annual homicides in Kansas City since 2016 is 149.
Lucas said there are too many guns available in Kansas City The city, he said, has worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to try to reduce illegal gun sales through dealers and pawn shops.
The city, he noted, has a difficult time with gun measures because of state laws that preempt municipal gun control legislation.