We Miss Seeing You!

Like many of you, we miss being together and look forward to the time we can resume our programs in person. While waiting for that day, we hope to “see” many of you at our June 22 virtual meeting on Zoom. Our GAGV work has continued while we’ve all been sheltering in place, and we want to bring you up to date on our many activities including expanding our participation in Vision Quilt and planning our 7th annual Community Forum in October.

So mark your calendar for Monday June 22 and join us on Zoom beginning at 4 p.m.

We will send information about participating closer to the event.

We Want to Know Your Thoughts!

Last month we asked you to respond to a brief survey about how GAGV can best meet your interests and needs. We’re eager to know your thoughts as we work to keep our community safe from gun violence and adjust to a “new normal.” Thank you to those who have already responded. If you missed the survey last month, please take a moment and respond here now.

It’s GRAND to Be a Member

At all times, not just these unprecedented ones, your continued support matters. Your voice is vitally important as we collectively advocate for gun safety and your membership dues help finance our many activities. Until we can meet in person, you can check the status of your GAGV membership by emailing us and we’ll respond ASAP. Whether you’re renewing or joining us for the first time, you can now become a newly created Grand Member for $100; eight members have already joined at this higher level. It’s a grand way to underwrite additional support for GAGV’s work.

GAGV Remembers Overland Park Police Officer Mike Mosher

More than 50 police officers from a dozen different departments have partnered with Grandparents Against Gun Violence since its Lock It For Love gun safety program began almost three years ago. One of the first officers to participate was Mike Mosher of the Overland Park Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty last month. He was 37.

LIFL volunteers first worked with Officer Mosher in September 2017 at Children’s Mercy Hospital during Suicide Prevention Awareness Week. In addition to the materials GAGV brought, Officer Mosher also brought his own separate array of firearms to show attendees and explain how to store them safely.

“He wanted to talk with everybody there and make sure they understood how important gun safety was. Educating people about gun safety was clearly one of his passions,” said Barb McNeile, LIFL co-chair. “He helped us develop a very positive relationship with the Overland Park Police Department which has been extremely important.”

Rebecca Mathews, a GAGV volunteer at that September LIFL event, remembered Officer Mosher’s professionalism. “He was extremely informative, obviously highly trained and very respectful of firearms. It just seemed second nature to him,” Rebecca said. “He was very wise and really ‘present’ when he talked with people.” Two months later he helped staff a second LIFL event, a popular baby fair at the Overland Park Convention Center, the same venue where his memorial service was held May 13.

Officer Mike Mosher, second from right, with fellow officer Brandon Faber, at a September 2017 Lock It For Love event at Children’s Mercy Hospital South. Also pictured are GAGV volunteers Marva Shelton and Rebecca Mathews in GAGV shirts along with Michelle Camerer, on the left and Dr. Shayla Sullivant, both of CMH.

Officer Mosher joined the department in September of 2005, started or supported several popular community projects, served as president of the Overland Park Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 21 and in 2019 was named Overland Park Police Officer of the Year.

“His passion, positive demeanor and ability to immediately connect with others regarding the importance of gun safety made a lasting impression on our volunteers and the many people he touched through these events,” GAGV president Judy Sherry wrote in a Letter to the Editor published in The Kansas City Star. “We are grateful for having had the privilege of knowing and working with Mike.”

Survivors include his wife Corinne, a firearms instructor and competitive shooter, and his 12-year-old daughter Tyler. His father Scott Mosher, a retired police officer and now the director of training at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, spoke at a GAGV meeting in the fall of 2017 explaining the differences between conceal carry and open carry regulations.

As a tribute to Officer Mosher, Rebecca Mathews designed a panel for our new Vision Quilt Project. Hers is the first GAGV panel completed for the virtual quilt; 16 other volunteers are working on theirs. We look forward to presenting the quilt to members of Officer Mosher’s family and representatives from the OPPD at a future meeting.

Your VOTE Counts!

While so much attention is rightfully directed at managing COVID-19, we can’t forget the importance of the November elections. You’ll have many opportunities to actively participate in the process, and we’ll continue to update you on action steps as we learn them. No need to wait; get started now!

  • From Indivisible comes The Big Send, a campaign to write and mail 10 million letters to voters. Sending a letter is one of the easiest things a volunteer can do to potentially increase voter turnout. All it takes is a few minutes plus a stamp to help increase the odds that 10 million more of our fellow citizens will vote in November. It’s a great project to do while sheltering in place! 

  • From MainStream Coalition comes the (virtual) Walk the Vote on Saturday June 13 at 10 am. Many fun activities are planned during the days leading up to the Walk. GAGV has formed a team, so join us! Register here, and follow these steps:  
    • Click on Sign Up Now
    • Fill in first and last names
    • Click on Registration Type – Select Team Member
    • Click on Join A Team
    • Team Name – Click on arrow to scroll down to Grandparents Against Gun Violence and select
    • Complete Billing Info
    • Click on Submit 

News You Can Use

If you missed the segment about build-it-yourself “ghost guns” on a recent 60 Minutes, see it here: How Build-It-Yourself Firearms Skirt Most Federal Gun Laws.

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday June 2: National Gun Violence Awareness Day

This year the observance is virtual, but even at home you can wear orange to show your support for a future free from gun violence, you can also take a few minutes to write your state and federal legislators about the importance of common sense gun legislation. Click here to find your legislators and addresses. Click here to find your KS and MO legislators and addresses.

June 5-7: Check out local events to observe Gun Safety Weekend 

Monday October 12: the 7th Annual (virtual) Heartland Coalition Community Forum

Gun Violence: Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers will feature proactive local leaders from business, government and the faith community discussing what they’re doing beyond thoughts and prayers to promote gun safety. Read future newsletters as more details become available.

Guns, the Pandemic and Our Fears

The month of March, when shelter-in-place orders were first announced, saw an unprecedented increase in firearm sales with more than 2.6 million background checks completed. We and others worried about possible increases in suicides, domestic violence and preventable (accidental) deaths.

So far, no traceable spikes in suicides have been seen but a significant drop in the number of calls to domestic abuse hotlines has been reported. Authorities fear violence is still occurring and victims have neither the freedom nor the access to call for help.

Data about preventable deaths, however, is available and it’s tragic. CBSNews.com reports “unintentional shootings by children under the age of 17 claimed 21 lives in March and April. Most of the killings came when kids found their parents’ guns and played with them.” In May here in Kansas City, a child accidentally shot and injured a 3-year-old boy; luckily, the victim is recovering. Shooting that injured 3-year-old boy at Kansas City home was an accident, police say.

One sadly ironic byproduct of the pandemic’s forcing thousands of schools to close:

“(This) was the first March without a school shooting in the United States since 2002.”            

          – Robert Klemko, reporter for The Washington Post, in a tweet April 13, 2020

Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

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