In Missouri, Relaxed Gun Laws, More Gun Deaths

Kansas City residents express frustration over increased gun violence, something Oakland, California has also dealt with.
6:57 | 01/08/16

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Transcript for In Missouri, Relaxed Gun Laws, More Gun Deaths
Tonight, the great gun debate. A tale of two cities determining to save young lives. In Kansas City, Missouri a mayor fighting for stricter gun laws. And in Oakland, California operation cease-fire. How this is fueling conversation and becoming a reality no one can ignore. Pisss me off. And it should. It should piss everybody in this country off. There's no reason for a lot of these people to die. None. Why do we accept it in. Reporter: Kansas City mayor sly James is a man on a mission. Desperate to decrease the number of deaths from guns in his city. It's obscene. Reporter: And in his city 2016 is not off to a promising start. We had four, five murders in the first four days, five days. Of this year. Of this year. Reporter: The debate over whether or not stricter gun laws save lives is no more clear than here in Missouri. In the past decade Missouri has relaxed their gun laws, and in that same time span gun deaths have increased 16%. Mayor James has had enough. Too many people die, and they don't have to. And somebody needs to say that, and somebody needs to care prrpt the debate over how to protect Americans from guns while still protecting the right to bear arms is a major issue on the campaign trail. And I will continue to take on the gun lobby. The second amendment is so important. They're not going to take your guns away, folks. Reporter: This week the president issuing his own executive actions for gun control. And becoming emotional when recalling the victims of mass shootings, like the children of Newtown. Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. Reporter: Mayor sly James has also seen the horror of an innocent child killed. I went to the scene of a 3-year-old who had gotten killed in a drive-by shooting while he slept in his bed. Reporter: And on the streets the calls for the police to respond to gun violence come all too frequently. Shots fired calls. That comes to about 16 a day. Reporter: 16 a day? That's what it averages out to, yes. Reporter: That seems like a lot for a city like Kansas City. A reality that the president could not ignore. Meanwhile, since Missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to an almost 50% higher than the national average. What was your sense when in the president's remarks the other day you mentioned your city by name? We always like to have our city mentioned by the president but not necessarily in that light. We have an issue here with gun violence. We have virtually no laws that limit the sale and proliferation of guns. Reporter: Lifelong Kansas City resident Rosalind temple knows all too well the pain caused by gun violence in this city. In November 2011 her 26-year-old son Antonio Thompson was shot dead in his own home. Your face lights up when you talk about him. It does. He used to always make me laugh. He was always by his mother. He was one of the mama boys. Reporter: The homicide rate is so high here that mothers of children gunned down get together. We call on 60 mothers weekly to check on families to see how they're doing. My main focus this week is to get them to come into our human support. Reporter: Rosalind leads a group called mothers in charge. Let me know if anything we can do, come out and call. Reporter: A group of individuals who provide support for families of victims of gun violence. We take a stand in our community. We fight back. We say no more losing our children. Reporter: You okay? Yeah. I'm okay. Reporter: It's hard still. It's hard. Reporter: Rosalind actually keeps a hotline fwoen phone with her at all times. The calls come in 24/7. Every time my phone rings once a homicide occur, the murder squad, they call me and I meet them out there. Because if it's not no one there, I'm there for that loved one. Reporter: How would you describe the pace of the killings here now? They've been fast. Reporter: Missouri as you know has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. What's that mean here in Kansas City for you and your organization, the families you work with? When that law changed last year, it devastated me and mothers and families in this community. Reporter: Nearly 2,000 miles away in California, a state with far stricter gun laws than Missouri, gun deaths have decreased slightly since the introduction of stricter laws in 2013. But gun laws only go so far. Here in Oakland violence has still ravaged some of its toughest neighborhoods, residents tell us. How old was he? He was a young cat, right? Yeah. The guy who died last week was 17. Reporter: To combat growing crime in 2012 Oakland implemented "Operation cease-fire," a coalition formed by groups in the community, local government and clergy. Led by pastors Mike and Ben Mcbride. So here we're spending a lot of our work here in the bay area, particularly here in oakla Oakland, building relationships with those who are highest at risk to commit acts of violence, providing them services and on-ramps to change their lives. We find they are actually able to stop shooting and see their lives transformed. Reporter: They view their work with the utmost urgency. This is an act of survival for us. This isn't an act of charity. This is an act of altruism. We do this every day because we know if we don't our own lives may very well be at risk and certainly the lives of our children. Reporter: They lead what's called night walks throughout Oakland, engaging personally on the ground with at-risk youth. We're walking these neighborhoods, trying to really see, you know, who are folks that are actually hanging out in some of the spaces that we can connect with. It's the consistency of showing up in the same places, building the relationships. Reporter: As a result of this strategy, Oakland has seen a 20% decrease in homicides. It's a program that has worked for 27-year-old Clarence Ford. A mentee of Michael Mcbride's for the last decade. I try to lead by example. And like let people know that, you know, change is possible. I had my hardships. It was difficult. But it's possible. Reporter: Tonight, president Obama is back at it, headlining CNN's "Guns in America" town hall. There's nothing else in our lives that we purchase where we don't try to make it a little safer if we can. Reporter: And in the audience families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. The bottom line is is that it doesn't matter what the reason, it doesn't matter what the color. It doesn't matter what the economic, socioeconomic status is, there's too many people dying in this country at the end of a gun and there's too little being done to change it. Reporter: The mayor did admit to us there is still no easy answer.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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