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JANUARY 2024 NEWS

A New Year’s Message from Judy Sherry, GGS Founder & President

Welcome to 2024! We wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy new year. It’s an important year with crucial local, state, and federal elections, so there’s much to learn and do to prepare. That’s why we’ve named 2024 the Year of the Vote.

Starting this month, we’ll present several programs throughout the year explaining the details of successfully delivering a free and fair election. We’ll also research and identify candidates here at home and across the country who understand the urgent need for promoting gun safety and preventing gun violence through common-ground gun reform legislation.

We can all do something toward that goal. You can attend monthly GGS meetings to stay informed, know and share the facts about gun violence, keep up with legislation (some newly introduced and some stalled), respond to Advocacy Alerts, help register new voters and participate in Get Out the Vote initiatives. Be sure to read our newsletters for other suggestions in the months ahead.

As the new year begins, some may say, “Out with the old and in with the new.” I couldn’t disagree more! As GGS embarks on its second decade, we’ll build on its past accomplishments and meet the challenges ahead with new goals and strategies.

So among your new year’s resolutions, consider adding this one: Stand With Us! Continue participating in our successful programs like Lock It For Love and the annual Community Forum while at the same time supporting new approaches in this Year of the Vote.

Let’s get started!

Turning Eligible Voters Into Registered Voters 

GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, January 22
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village – Social Hall
7039 Mission Road

Getting out the vote requires one very important ingredient: more voters, either those already registered who fail to vote regularly but equally important, those who have yet to even register.

On January 22, we’ll hear about the strategies local organizations have planned to meet eligible voters, explain the importance of voting and help them register. We’ll also learn how GGS can support those registration efforts and when it counts, get those new voters to the polls.

Join us as the Year of the Vote begins this month.

Remembering Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence

More than 70 people attended GGS’ December 14 program observing the 11th anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and acknowledging the thousands of gun violence victims who have come after.

The program spotlighted the 26 victims of the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook, which was the impetus for starting GGS in 2013, and then listed every school shooting since, including the December 6, 2023, shooting at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas that killed three faculty members. A responsive reading of an adapted version of “A Litany on the Tragedy of Gun Violence,” by Rev. W. Mark Koenig of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, ended the remembrance. Read the Litany here.

Reporters from KSHB-41 covered the program and aired an excellent segment on the 10 p.m. newscast. Watch the coverage here.

Among those at the remembrance were (front row) Reese Algren, member of Shawnee Mission East High School’s East Against Gun Violence; GGS President Judy Sherry; and Abi Limbird,  SME student. In the back row are Kansas Rep. Jerry Stogsdill; Anna Simpson, Co-Founder of Lives on the Line; Emma Krause and Emma Kuhlman, co-presidents of East Against Gun Violence.

Thank you to the many supporters who brought new and gently used blankets to the December 14 program. The donated blankets will be distributed by Free Hot Soup, the local group helping the metro’s homeless population. Throughout the coming year, GGS will offer other opportunities to support local organizations working to make the metro area a better, safer place.

Making Membership Renewal Easier

Like many other organizations, GGS has begun offering automatic renewal of its annual memberships.

Members will continue receiving an e-reminder shortly before their membership expires. They can then renew using a credit card, and with their permission, GGS will securely store that credit card information for future automatic renewals.

This new system makes it easy for supporters to annually renew their GGS membership at one of three levels: Individual at $35, Family at $50 and Gold at $100. Rolling renewals also provide GGS with a steady financial flow as it expands its educational, advocacy, and gun safety efforts. If you choose not to auto-renew, you can still renew online with a credit card or pay by check and mail it to GGS at P.O. Box 8617, Prairie Village, KS 66208.

Thanks for your continued membership support!

57% of young people say they’re “extremely likely” to vote in 2024. Their key issues are the economy, climate change and gun violence.

Source: CIRCLE, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Tufts University

Heads Up: Proposed Federal Legislation in Year of the Vote

GOSAFE Bill (Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion Act)

Introduced in the U.S. Senate after the October mass shooting that killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, this proposed legislation would limit easy access to high-powered rifles that can fire dozens of rounds of ammunition with incredible speed. The unusual name focuses on the internal reloading mechanisms of assault-style weapons.

Under the proposed law introduced by Maine’s Democratic Sen. Angus King, new gas-operated, semi-automatic rifles could be sold only if they feature a fixed magazine capable of holding a maximum of 10 cartridges. That would slow shooters’ ability to quickly inflict multiple casualties by requiring them to slowly feed more cartridges into a smaller fixed magazine. Semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines would also face broad new restrictions.

The bill’s Democratic co-sponsors (Senators Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mark Kelly of Arizona, and Michael Bennet of Colorado), describe the law as a practical way of limiting the lethality of the semi-automatic rifles typically used in mass shootings while also respecting the rights of responsible firearm owners.

Organizations endorsing the bill include Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, and the Giffords Organization. Others, including The Newtown Action Alliance and the Violence Policy Center, believe the bill fails to go far enough and exempts too many assault-style weapons. They continue to support S.25, the Assault Weapons Ban, introduced by the late U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

While the GOSAFE bill is complicated, it’s an important first step and one to watch, particularly to see how the U.S. senators from Missouri and Kansas respond.

Speaking of Legislation: Watch for Advocacy Alerts

The Kansas and Missouri Legislatures begin their new sessions this week, which means our Advocacy Committee begins tracking bills, keeping supporters informed and encouraging action. Watch for its email Alerts. (Rewards may be involved.) It’s important that elected officials know we’re watching and urging them to vote for gun safety.
 
The committee also continues its Did You Know? postcard campaign that provides legislators important statistics about issues surrounding gun violence. 
 
A new advocacy initiative starts this month: Wear Orange Day on the 14th of every month to remember those lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, and to engage people in conversations about the epidemic of gun violence. So wear your GGS swag and the new button too!

GGS Year in Review Quiz: Test Yourself 

It’s that time of year again to put on your orange or gray GGS thinking cap and see how well you remember the organization’s high points of 2023. Questions may have more than one correct answer, so select all that apply. Find all the answers at the end of this newsletter; no peeking!

  1. In 2023, GGS observed a significant anniversary. What was it?

                   a. The 29th anniversary of passing the former federal ban on assault weapons
                   b. The 10th anniversary of GGS’ founding
                   c. The 5th anniversary of Lock It for Love
                   d. The 1st anniversary of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention

  1. What federal lawmaker introduced the bill that created that White House Office?

                   a. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California
                   b. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
                   c. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut
                   d. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Florida

  1. Who was this year’s keynote speaker at GGS’ annual Community Forum?

                   a.  Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost
                   b.  Author and LGBTQ+ activist Brandon Wolf
                   c.  Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
                   d.  Connecticut attorney Josh Koskoff

  1. Where was the 2023 Community Forum held for the first time?

                   a.  At KCMO City Hall
                   b.  On the campus of Johnson County Community College
                   c.  At the Truman Library
                   d.  In the Truman Forum Auditorium at the Plaza Library

  1. What was the theme of the 2023 Community Forum?

                   a.  Voices Old & Young: Working Together for Gun Safety
                   b.  Many Generations, One Mission: Safety from Gun Violence
                   c.  Gun Safety: Generations Standing Together
                   d.  Standing Together, We Can End Gun Violence 

  1. In 2023, the GGS Speakers Bureau presented what to some 20 groups?

                   a.  The new interactive video “Choose to Be Safe”
                   b.  The award-winning documentary “He Thought the Gun Was Locked”
                   c.  The one act play “Take This Gun from My Cold Dead Hands”
                   d.  The Power Point “The GGS Story”    

  1. Lock It For Love, GGS’ gun safety education program, and its volunteers have distributed how many free, high-quality gun locks at community events?

                   a.  4,462 gun locks in 4 years
                   b.  5,898 gun locks in 5 years  
                   c.  6,023 gun locks in 6 years
                   d.  7,112 gun locks in 7 years 

  1. Lock It For Love also distributes gun locks through what third-party partners?

                   a.  Teachers
                   b.  Pediatricians
                   c.  KCPD Community Engagement Officers
                   d.  PTO/PTA parents 

  1. GGS’s monthly educational programs draw an average of 60 to 70 attendees.
    Which topics were the subjects of GGS programming last year?

                   a.  Mis- and Disinformation: Handle with Care
                   b.  Guns & Domestic Violence: A Lethal Connection
                   c.  Ghost Guns: Definitely Real and Deadly
                   d.  Reducing Homicides: Begin at the Beginning  

  1. GGS is a founding member of what new national digital advocacy network?

                   a.   Grandparents Uniting for Gun Safety
                   b.   Seniors Demand Action
                   c.    National Association for Freedom from Gun Violence
                   d.   Grandparents Standing Together for Safe Storage  

  1. GGS’ free, monthly e-newsletter is sent to how many in its data base?

                   a.  1,214
                   b.  1,900
                   c.  2,181
                   d.  3,783  

Say Their Names

As of December 30, 2023, Kansas City, MO, had recorded a new city record of 183 homicides, one more than the previous record of 182 lives lost in 2020. (In 2022, the city had seen a slight decline at 171.)  For the entire metro area in 2023, the homicide number had reached 245 as of December 30.

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, January 1, 2024: Happy New Year!

Monday, January 8: Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Sunday, January 14: Wear Orange Day
This new initiative on the 14th of every month honors the victims of Sandy Hook who died on the 14th of December, 2012, and encourages conversations about the epidemic of gun violence
 
Monday, January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
 
Thursday January 18: “Gun Country: Gun Capitalism, Culture & Control in Cold War America”

  • Free, in-person program with author Andrew C. McKevitt.
  • 5:30 pm at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO.
  • RSVP online or at 816-701-3407. Please email us if you plan to attend. We can arrange carpools or meet at the library.

Monday January 22: First GGS meeting for Year of the Vote
Turning Eligible Voters Into Registered Voters
4:00 pm, Colonial Church in Prairie Village Social Hall, 7039 Mission Road

 Monday January 29: Kansas Day. Happy 162nd birthday!

Answers to Quiz:

  1. b
  2. d
  3. b
  4. d
  5. c
  6. d
  7. c
  8. b, c
  9. a, b, d
  10. a
  11. b

Our Vision

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

Our Mission

We 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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Grandparents for Gun Safety

P.O. Box 8617

Prairie Village, KS 66208-0617

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