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Working to Find People Work: Helping the Unemployed

GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, April 25
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
7039 Mission Road

Please note: Based on CDC COVID-related protocols, we plan to meet in person with those who feel comfortable, are vaccinated and optionally masked. We urge you to attend and enjoy the energy we all feel seeing one another and our presenters in person. We’ll also provide a Zoom link Saturday, April 23.

This month we’ll learn about the struggles formerly incarcerated people face in finding employment, which can help lower the incidence of gun violence.

We’ll hear from two professionals with programs designed to help: Brittany Peterson, the lead resource specialist and training facilitator for Second Chance, a program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, and Kyle Smith, the founder and executive director of Determination, Incorporated, a Kansas City nonprofit.

Their presentations will illustrate why finding meaningful employment leads to increased self-esteem and financial security, which can lower the incidence of gun violence including homicide, suicide and domestic violence. Read this column from The L.A. Times explaining how hiring people with criminal records benefits both the individuals themselves and their communities.

Last month we learned what services the local Veterans Community Project provides that can reduce the possibility of gun violence among veterans, particularly suicide.

According to The New York Times on March 20, 2022 , a report last year from the Costs of War Project at Brown University found that an estimated 30,177 active duty military personnel and veterans who have served since 9-11 have died by suicide. That’s more than four times the 7,057 killed in military operations during the 20-year war against terrorism.

Locally, the Veterans Community Project provides clean, modern Tiny Homes for veterans re-entering the community as well as other services including the RideKC Veterans Pass, rent and utility assistance, dental care, employment supports, housing and counseling referrals and more.

If you’re interested in donating and supporting the Project, click here. And if you’re interested in touring the Tiny Homes at 89th & Troost, let us know. A recording of the March meeting is on our website.

Kansas & Missouri Legislative Sessions: There’s Still Time to Act!

Last month we outlined the good and the bad firearms bills in both state legislatures. Not surprisingly, proposed legislation that would be detrimental to community safety has received most of legislators’ favorable attention.

In Kansas, an NRA-backed gun training program for schoolchildren called Eddie Eagle was introduced. SB 522 would require school districts to teach the NRA’s safe firearm training program. The proposed bill could even allow the use of actual guns and ammunition at school during training.

Though the regular session of the legislature has ended, legislators will return April 25 for their Veto/Wrap-up Session. It is possible GOP legislators will try to find a way to advance the bill, so there is still time to voice your opinion.

Click here for a sample letter and link to a list of the Kansas state senators, 29 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Write them all or the senator from your district. ‘Thank or spank’ them for their previous stances on common ground gun legislation.

In Missouri, the House has passed and sent to the Senate HCS HB1462 which would allow concealed firearms on public transportation and in houses of worship. A small but mighty group of Missouri advocates brought together through GGS has already written to their senators about this bill. Click here to see how to contact your senator with some talking points to use. 

Special note: when contacting your legislators, please do so as an individual. GGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with constraints on its political activities.

Remember, Missouri and Kansas rank in the bottom five for states with the weakest gun laws, according to the Giffords Law Center’s Annual Gun Law Scorecard. A link to the scorecard can be found at our archived newsletters.

Member Spotlight: Janey Pryor

Janey Pryor’s volunteer resumé reads like a recap of society’s pressing issues, from comforting hospice patients and tutoring incarcerated juveniles to resettling Afghan refugees and promoting gun safety.

“I care a great deal about gun safety,” Janey said. “Being involved with GGS and giving out free gun locks through Lock It For Love is a really good way for me to contribute to the cause.”

Janey saw first-hand the aftermath of gun violence while working in broadcast journalism, here and in Phoenix, AZ. She worked as a news writer, on-camera reporter and assignment editor. “So many of the stories we covered involved gun violence,” Janey said. “It was tragic.”

A native Missourian, Janey grew up in Springfield and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and journalism from Ottawa University and later a master’s from UMKC in Adult and Continuing Education. She spent 21 years at Hallmark as an editor involved in planning social expression products, such as cards and gift books.

Her GGS involvement began representing St. Andrew Christian Church in Olathe on GGS’ Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence. After retiring from Hallmark, Janey staffed a few LIFL events, then stepped up as a captain.

Today she’s most focused on her work with KC for Refugees and the Afghan family whose father worked at the U.S. military base in Kabul before arriving here in December. Janey provides transportation, helps the family with its English and spends time with the two children, 5 and 7 years old.

“It’s very rewarding,” Janey said about volunteering. “I like to do what I can.”

Send us your suggestions for a member to spotlight!

The 2023 fiscal budget released by the White House on March 28, includes $60 million for the CDC and NIH to research gun violence, a 140 % increase.

NOTE: This is only a budget request. Congress must approve funding.

Say Their Names

Following are the 17 lives lost to firearms in the metro area since our last newsletter. That brings the total to 52 homicides since January 1. We say their names while we keep true to our vision that one day everyone in our community will be safe from gun violence. 

New SWAG is Available!

Update your GGS wardrobe and show your support by wearing these new items. Currently the only way to order the new styles is to attend our April 25 meeting. When more inventory is available, we’ll post a form you can use to place your orders online. This link shows styles and prices only.

News You Can Use

An AR-15 style rifle is being produced for kids

Colorado Representative drops handgun inside the state Capitol

This tragic story about an accidental shooting underscores the importance of safe gun storage: Woman charged after 12-year-old boy shot, killed by 10-year-old brother in St. Louis.

Help for Local Victims of Gun Violence & Their Families
An anonymous donation of $250,000 has jumpstarted a new fund to help cover funeral costs for victims of gun violence and give relief to their grieving families.

The fund will be administered through KC Common Good whose founders include AdHoc Group Against Crime, a long-time GGS supporter, along with Mothers in Charge, the YMCA and KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas.

As part of our commitment to stand with community partners, GGS donated to the fund. Read more here.

The Good Faith Network

An interfaith group working on social justice and representing 20 congregations in Johnson County is focusing on homelessness and mental health, two issues GGS has identified as risk factors of gun violence.

The Good Faith Network’s focus came from 65 small group conversations last fall identifying the county’s most pressing problems with plans to press for change.

Consider standing with the Good Faith Network by attending its Nehemiah Assembly on May 3 at 6:00 pm. More information about the location will be available before the May 3 date.

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, April 25
GGS Monthly Meeting and Program: Working to Find People Work: Helping the Unemployed
4:00-5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
7039 Mission Road
Hybrid program in person & Zoom with link to come April 23.

Tuesday, May 3
Nehemiah Assembly
6:00 pm
Location and details to come.

Our Vision

All members of our community have the right to feel safe from gun violence.

Our Mission

Focus on working for solutions, educating the community and seeking common ground reform that respects the rights of gun owners and non-owners alike.




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