Home Insecurity: It Exists Even in Johnson County, KS
GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, February 28
4:00 – 5:30 pm
In-person + Zoom
Please note: Based on CDC COVID-related protocols, those who feel comfortable and are vaccinated and masked will meet at Colonial Church, 7039 Mission Road in Prairie Village, with seating safely spaced. For others, we’ll also provide a Zoom link Saturday, February 26.
We know hunger and home insecurity exist in all areas of metro Kansas City and can lead to desperation, which in turn can lead to gun violence (particularly suicide), accidental shootings and theft.
Last month we learned about efforts to lessen hunger among the homeless in metro Kansas City. This month we focus attention on Johnson County, Kansas, where people also experience the stress of being without a home. For some, it’s a temporary situation, while others experience its long-term effects.
City and county governments in Johnson County as well as nonprofit organizations are working on solutions. We’ll hear more about those efforts from a panel including Overland Park City Councilman Paul Lyons, plus representatives from Johnson County United Community Services, Johnson County Mental Health Association, and Johnson County Interfaith Hospitality Network.
Join us for a broader view of the problems and solutions regarding homelessness in Johnson County.
Thanks for Supporting Free Hot Soup
Those who joined by Zoom learned more about the vital work Free Hot Soup (FHS) volunteers provide to their homeless friends in Kansas City. FHS founder Nellie McCool and Maribeth Brennaman, a GGS member and FHS volunteer, described how volunteers host picnics in three parks in the urban core every Sunday sharing food and supplies, whatever the weather. If you missed the program, you can read the meeting minutes and see a recording here.
We’re grateful and delighted so many of you have responded with such generosity. Donations have included food plus gently used and new clothing, delivered in person as well as items ordered through the FHS Amazon link.
Click here to review the FHS Wish List of ongoing needs. For your convenience, GGS volunteers will accept donations Wednesday, February 9 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road, in the Heritage Room on the sanctuary level.
Whether ordered from Amazon or purchased locally and delivered by you, donations to FHS are greatly appreciated.
Kansas: seven firearm bills have been introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives; you can follow their progress here.
Missouri: To date, no firearm bills have been introduced in the House or Senate. Police chiefs state-wide support a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s controversial 2nd Amendment Protection Act that restricts law enforcement cooperation in investigating gun-related crimes. Police chiefs statewide support suit against new Missouri gun law.
National: After a vote by its City Council, San Jose, CA, became the first city in the country to require gun-owners to buy gun liability insurance that covers damages or losses resulting from “any negligent or accidental use of the firearm.” A lawsuit contesting the ordinance has already been filed in federal court by the National Association for Gun Rights. Read more here: San Jose Set to Require Gun Owners to Buy Liability Insurance.
Ethan’s Law (HR 748): Progress is being made to move this child safety bill, which requires that a gun (loaded or unloaded) be properly stored so that individuals under 18 cannot access it. The bill is named after Ethan Song who died in an accidental shooting while playing with a gun at a friend’s home.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to bring the bill to a vote after it obtains 218 co-sponsors. Once passed, the bill goes to the U.S. Senate. To date, Ethan’s Law has 193 co-sponsors and needs 25 more. U.S. Representatives Sharice Davids (KS) and Emanuel Cleaver (MO) are the only co-sponsors so far from our two state delegations; four are possible from Kansas and eight from Missouri.
Ethan’s mother Kristin Song was among those featured in a recent CBS Mornings segment about the need for safe gun storage. Also featured were Mark Barden whose six-year-old son Daniel died at Sandy Hook, a woman whose 17-year-old son took his own life with an unsecured gun and an emergency room doctor who has treated gunshot victims. Watch this moving nine-minute segment here: Gun safety advocates say firearm risks must be studied and treated like other public health threats.
In addition to setting federal standards for safe gun storage, Ethan’s Law would give individual states incentives to create and implement their own safe gun storage laws. Click here to see the states with safe gun storage laws and those that don’t.
Watch for updates and how you can support Ethan’s Law when it reaches the U.S. Senate.
More than 2,200 American children were killed by firearms in 2020, the most in 20 years, with the 2021 death toll expected even higher, according to The Washington Post and cited in The Week magazine January 18, 2022.
You Can Help Build Coast-to-Coast “Grands” Network!
In our Zoom meeting last November, many of you met members of our sister organizations, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence of Cape Cod, MA, and Grandmothers Against Gun Violence in Washington state. Our organizations share much in common, beginning with each group’s founding after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that claimed 27 victims, 20 of them children.
Now we’re moving into our next phase, building a network of grandparents from coast-to-coast that will add more voices to support actions that keep our children and grandchildren safe. People between the ages of 65 and 74 comprise the largest voting bloc in the country, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, with millennials and people over 75 close behind. Click here to see the report. Therefore, the ideal demographics for our purposes are people ages 55 and older.
The network can take many shapes, from a loosely organized database of contacts to join in advocacy actions to an organized group offering regular educational programs and sponsoring projects similar to those of our organizations. As we move to the next level of planning, our three groups envision providing support in any way requested. We hope the network will be underway by June 2, National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
It’s a daunting goal, but one you can help us meet. Think of three or more friends and relatives in any city or state who share your passion for gun violence prevention and send their names and cities to us. (Don’t forget GGS members who might be snow birds.) We’ll provide a compelling invitation you can share with them to join this potentially powerful network. Let’s get started!
Say Their Names
Since the start of the new year, 12 people in the metro area have been lost to firearms, with many of their names unknown. We hope one day these victims will be identified so we can truly say their names:
Mark Your Calendar
February 1 to 7: National Gun Violence Survivors Awareness Week
Lock It For Love Pop-Up Food Pantry at the Kansas City Health Department
2400 Troost Avenue, KCMO
1:30 – 3:00 pm
Donation drop-off for Free Hot Soup
Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road, in the Heritage Room
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Enter through the west side office door
Bulletproof, a PBS special report, explores the complexities of violence in schools and the attempts to prevent it.
10:00 pm on KCPT
GGS monthly program, Home Insecurity: It Exists Even in Johnson County, KS
4:00 – 5:30 pm (In-person + Zoom)
All members of our community have the right to feel safe from gun violence.
Focus on working for solutions, educating the community and seeking common ground reform that respects the rights of gun owners and non-owners alike.