Demonstrators Call For Stricter Gun Control As Thousands Flock To Kansas City Gun Show

Feb 13, 2016

A small group of Kansas Citians gathered outside the Kansas City Gun Show at the KCI Expo Center Saturday to call for stricter gun control.

Organizer Alice Kitchen says she'd like to see stricter background checks for guns as well as a more concerted effort from gun producers to keep firearms from falling into the hands of criminals.

"There is a large pro-gun movement, however I don't think it represents a large body of people," Kitchen said as she held up a handmade sign to passing traffic. "I think we can make [gun] manufacturers actually tag guns and identify them."

Bill Mace from Overland Park, Kansas joined Kitchen and about half a dozen others in the cold. He says he's not entirely for or against guns, but just wants to make sure gun sales are properly documented and safe.

"I'm a gun owner myself," Mace said. "We're out here trying to create awareness for people to have more respect for guns."

"We're here expressing our First Amendment right just like these folks are expressing their Second Amendment right, and both sides can co-exist," Mace said.

Gun enthusiasts line up to enter the Kansas City Gun Show.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Gun Show manager Dennis Pearson says he's confident that vendors and sellers are being safe and making necessary background checks.

"We already do background checks, I mean, 99 percent of the sales here are done with a background check," Pearson said. "[The rest] are private sales. It'd be no different than you selling me a gun at your house, but you still are supposed to follow the law and make sure I can legally own it."

Pearson said he wholly opposes more gun control laws. He believes there should be more strict enforcement of current gun laws to cut down on violent crime.

While federal law requires background checks on gun purchases, Missouri doesn't impose additional requirements for gun sellers. Kansas City Mayor Sly James has repeatedly called for stricter gun laws, but has been met with little enthusiasm by the Missouri Legislature.

Pearson says he expects close to 10,000 people will come from around the metro area to the Gun Show on Saturday and Sunday. 

Cody Newill is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. You can find him on Twitter @CodyNewill or send him an email at cody@kcur.org.