Guns on Campus  How and Why We Resist

Monday, August 27, 2018    4:00 – 5:45 p.m. 

Colonial Church in Prairie Village (lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road

The debate continues unabated, five years after the Kansas Legislature approved allowing guns on college campuses, with the law went into effect last July. Allowing guns on Kansas campuses frightens many parents, worries students, troubles administrators and confounds legislators. Despite that, Missouri lawmakers are working to pass similar legislation. Having guns on campus may be one reason for the drop in foreign student enrollment at some schools. At the very least, the issue has sparked discussion and activism.

Join us to understand the perspectives of a college professor and a student activist. We’ll hear from Kevin Willmott, film professor at the University of Kansas, who gained national attention when he chose to wear a bulletproof vest to class because he feels less safe with guns on campus. Prof. Willmott is also an outspoken advocate for free-speech on campus and an award-winning screenwriter and producer. In May, BlacKkKlansman, the new movie he co-wrote with Spike Lee, won the prestigious Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and received a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience at its debut.

Prof. Willmott will be joined by Megan Jones, the student activist profiled in a Bloomberg Blog in May. She is a relentless advocate who launched, and in 2016 became a citizen lobbyist to fight the “guns everywhere” mentality.

We will also introduce a fun, new idea for observing Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 9.

VOTE on August 7!

It is crucial that we make our voices heard in in each election. To be as informed as possible, visit this website from the League of Women Voters. Just enter your address to find your polling place, get an online voters’ guide in your jurisdiction, compare candidates’ positions side-by-side, and print out a “ballot” indicating your preferences to take with you to the polls on Election Day.

Because it is so important, we are repeating information we sent last month:

1. Guns a hot issue for Democrats in Kansas governor’s race 

2. Congressional candidates on the issues: Preventing school shootings

3. KS House Races – the Kansas Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence recently surveyed Kansas House of Representatives candidates in Johnson County to learn their stand on three important gun-related issues.

Candidates were asked if they support or oppose:

  • Expanded background checks
  • Repeal of concealed campus carry
  • Adoption of Extreme Risk Protection Orders, allowing temporary removal of firearms from individuals deemed by a judge to be a threat either to themselves or others.

Here are the results. There are some blank spaces, because some candidates did not respond to calls and emails. For a few candidates, they could not find contact information. Unopposed candidates were not surveyed.

Plan to join us and bring a friend!

Monday, September 24 – Gun Violence and the Arts

Hear how local artists Bob Unell and Linda Lighton express their thoughts about gun violence in their respective mediums, from cartooning to sculpting.

Monday, October 8 Gun Violence. Changing the Conversation

We anticipate record attendance for our 5th Annual Community Forum. Since the Parkland, FL tragedy, the conversation about gun violence has finally begun – and we hope to learn new ways to influence it, seeking common ground and sensible solutions.

Candace Lightner, keynote speaker and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), will tell us how she changed the conversation. Then a panel of experts will share their thoughts about how we can do the same here and now. 

Panelists are: Micah Kubic, Executive Director of Kansas ACLU; Julie Conner, Ph.D., psychologist; Gina English, Kansas City, MO Police Department Social Worker Coordinator; and Daniele Rodriguez-Chavez of marchforourliveskc. KCPT’s Nick Haines will again be our extraordinary moderator. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas for action while enjoying a boxed lunch. Kansas City Mayor Sly James will join us, as he has for the previous four years.

There is still time to become a Forum sponsor and meet Candace Lightner at a Patron Reception the evening before. Register for Forum sponsorship here

Registration for individual tickets will begin August 27.

If you can volunteer to help at the Forum as a greeter or facilitator, please email us!

The specter of publishing schematic designs for guns anyone with access to a 3-D printer could use to make their own firearm is cause for alarm. This article describes actions taken by multiple groups to prevent this possibility:

U.S. gun control groups seek to block distribution of 3-D gun blueprints

And this short article succinctly describes the danger: 

Short Take: 3D-printed guns are a menace

NOTE – This situation is evolving and as of August 2 a coalition of Attorneys General from across the country sued the Trump administration to block these blueprints from going online. The court ruled that Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, must immediately take down any plans for 3D-printed guns. However, while this is a  victory, the judge’s order is a temporary one.

On July 30 the Star offered a summary of local influencers’ opinions on the issue of gun violence:

Here’s what Missouri Influencers have to say about gun control and gun rights

Our member, Mary Fran Zeller, had a Letter to the Editor published in the July 18 Kansas City Star about smart guns.

IF you are comfortable doing so, when you write Letters to the Editor, it would be great to sign, Member, Grandparents Against Gun Violence. That gives us more visibility and lets people know we are here and fighting to prevent gun violence.

5th Annual Community Forum 
October 8, 2018

Save the Date!

July Meeting a Fascinating Look at Gun Law Differences

Our July meeting, “Tale of Two Countries” provided a fascinating look at the vast difference in gun laws and social culture in Japan and the U.S. Rebecca Mathews opened the meeting with statistics comparing gun deaths, gun ownership and gun laws in both countries. You can see all at: A Tale of Two Countries

Among them:

  • Number of firearms per 100 people: Japan .06, USA 90
  • Number of firearm deaths per 100 citizens: Japan .01, USA 3.21

The July meeting minutes offer a comprehensive overview of much of what we learned, including the 13 steps it takes to obtain a firearm in Japan.

Judie Becker and Rebecca Mathews, planners of the July 23 meeting, pictured with featured speakers, John Matthews and KU Professor David Smith.

Dr. Tom Russell was on hand to present the Second Quarter Pat Russell Volunteer Appreciation Award to Gerald Hiller, Gloria Hiller and Gay Clemenson. They’re the “Tech Team” members who have spent so much time and expertise to help gather and keep Lock It For Love statistics, and have handled the monumental task of setting up registration for the Community Forum.

Gloria and Gerald Hiller with Tom Russell, and the orchids they received. Orchids were Pat’s favorites (Gay Clemenson was out of town).

The meeting closed with a recap of the first year of Lock It For Love (LIFL). Since our first event July 29 last year, we participated in 41 events and distributed 837 gun locks. Linda O’Dell, one of the 39 volunteers who have worked at these events spoke about how LIFL has given GAGV tremendous community visibility and enabled us to add many names to our database, which now numbers more than 1,400!

Lock It For Love Volunteers posed with certificates they received in appreciation of their work.

We have eight events scheduled now through October – and at each event we receive requests from others for us to bring it to their group. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Barb McNeile.