Urban and Rural Communities: Their Attitudes About Firearms Differ

Monday, March 22
4-5:30 pm
Zoom Meeting: Link will be sent Sunday, March 21

This month we’ll hear from Kansas City Star reporters working on the Missouri Gun Violence Project, a statewide effort examining gun violence and its causes, consequences and solutions to this public health crisis.

The reporters will share findings from their work so far; in particular, the similarities and differences of what gun violence looks like in Missouri’s urban and rural communities. To date, the reporters have covered how gun violence intersects with domestic violence, suicide, social determinants of health and trust in police. The ongoing project is supported and funded by the national service program Report for America and the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Join us March 22 to hear these enterprising reporters discuss why Missourians view their need for firearms so differently.

Our February program, the first in our year-long series of Listening to Different Voices, was powerful and illuminating as we heard emotional stories and personal thoughts from four members of the local chapter of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA).

Read the meeting’s minutes here or view the entire recorded program on our website.

The messages we heard prompted a range of feedback plus more questions than time allowed. If you have a question, from that day or after reviewing the recorded program, please email Julie Young. Julie moderated the program and will work to get your questions answered by the panelists.

This recent New York Times article echoes much of what was shared: The Real Story of the ‘Draft Riots’

What We’ve Been Up To

Despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we remain hard at work. Our monthly Zoom meetings and programs have been well-attended and our committees, also connecting by Zoom, have accomplished a great deal. Read on for updates about these projects:

Like reliable mail carriers, neither rain, nor sleet nor even COVID-19 can stop the distribution of free gun locks through GAGV’s gun safety program.

LIFL is now using community partners to help distribute gun locks and gun safety information to families with firearms in their homes. In place of a real-time demonstration of how to properly use a gun lock, recipients are now directed online to a 3-minute video featuring KCPD Officer Rick Jones showing the simple steps. See the video here

To date, participating community partners are the Thornberry Unit of Boys and Girls Clubs, the University of Missouri Extension-Clay County Grandfamilies group, plus Charlie’s House at its Safety Demonstration Home and Swope Health, both in KCMO. Pediatric practices and nonprofits concerned with child safety have also expressed interest. In addition, GAGV provides free gun locks to Dr. Shayla Sullivant, an adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy Hospital whose regular presentations emphasize the need to limit young peoples’ access to ways they can harm themselves, including firearms.

LIFL’s first retooling came last year when volunteers distributed gun locks to participants driving through food pick-up lines sponsored by Harvesters and the KCMO Health Dept.

“Our aim has always been to get gun locks in the hands of people who need them while also keeping our volunteers safe,” said Barb McNeile, who co-chairs the LIFL committee with GAGV board member Chris Glenski. “We’re confident LIFL has saved a life and prevented a serious gun injury.”

Since beginning in 2017, LIFL has distributed 3,900 free gun locks and educational materials. If you have suggestions for enlisting other community partners or want to volunteer when in-person distribution returns, contact Barb or Chris.

Join us in this easy, feel-good endeavor. When you want to thank an essential worker for a job well done or give a thank you to someone who offers you a helping hand, give them a bag of treats and see their faces light up with surprise and pleasure. Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe is now partnering with us to distribute these treat bags. 

      While the weather remains chilly and many of us stay close to home, create a quilt panel expressing your view on gun violence. See below for some recently completed examples. View more panels and get some inspiration for yours here.

      Panels by Linda Sher, Marie Cashion and Yvonne Paysinger.

      Gun locks and other LIFL materials, bags labeled and packed with candy for Acts of Kindness and fabric for Vision Quilt panels are available for pick up at the GAGV office at our previous in-person meeting venue, Colonial Church at 7039 Mission Road. The office is staffed the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month from 10 a.m. to noon. We’ll be glad to see you when you stop by, masked of course!

      Say Their Names

      Twenty six people in the metro area have died from gun violence  through February 26 . It is important to remember them by name whenever we can.

      News You Can Use

      View these two very different, but impactful, public service announcements (PSAs).

      The critical importance of safe gun storage is powerfully illustrated in this first example. The PSA was recently produced for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, a group of 32 states working together to reduce gun violence through legislation. Missouri-Kansas GAGV is a partner. View the PSA here: Best Unbox Ever.

      This PSA takes a different approach to another issue: how easily underage buyers can purchase firearms at a gun show, no matter how young they are! View it here: What Is Wrong with the USA.

      Mark Your Calendar

      As we continue our year of programming devoted to Listening to Different Voices and finding common ground, consider this article, The Science of Reasoning with Unreasonable People. Its helpful message reminds us “not to try to change someone else’s mind. Instead, help them find their own motivation to change.”

      Monthly GAGV Meetings
      Mondays, 4-5:30 pm  

      • March 22: Urban vs. Rural – Their Gun Landscapes Are Different
      • April 26: The Gun Gap – Understanding Attitudes of Owners vs. Non-Owners
      • May 24: Troubles of the Thin Blue Line Police and the Pressures They Face

      March 9 & 23   
      GAGV office open from 10 am – noon for pickup of LIFL materials, Acts of Kindness candy bags and Vision Quilt fabric. Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road.

      October 11        
      8th Annual (and second virtual) Community Forum on gun violence; plans are underway.

      “Substantial reduction in the number of privately-owned handguns” was recognized more than 40 years ago by the federal government as a way of “promoting health,” according to a 2009 CDC report titled The History of Violence as a Public Health Issue.

      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]

      Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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