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MARCH 2024 NEWS

Nothin’ But the Truth: Debunking Gun Myths

GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, March 25
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village, Social Hall
7039 Mission Road

The late U.S. Senator Patrick Moynihan of New York said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.” That came even before today’s rampant spread of misinformation (the incorrect reporting of facts) and disinformation (the deliberate effort to promote lies and myths).

In this Year of the Vote, it’s crucial to recognize both and ultimately find the truth. So join us Monday March 25 to learn how by deconstructing current gun violence myths and replacing them with facts.

Come at 3:30 pm to enjoy a treat and sign Did You Know postcards to send to our Kansas, Missouri and federal lawmakers urging them to vote for gun safety.

February’s Program “Yes, You Can!” Sets Attendance Record

Undoubtedly due to the February 14 mass shooting after the Chiefs Super Bowl rally, attendance at February’s program on advocating for gun safety set a GGS record at 140 people.

Clearly, those attending (including 52 guests) agree when it comes to gun violence in our shared community enough is enough. The emotional connection of like-minded people who want to make a difference by advocating for common ground gun legislation was palpable.

The tips and hints for effective advocating were timely and helpful, and those attending left knowing YES, I can!

If you missed the meeting or want to revisit the information provided, see it here with best viewing on your cell phone. You can also download the Advocacy Handout along with the Advocacy Power Point.

Plan to attend GGS monthly meetings throughout this Year of the Vote. All hands are needed to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) and encourage people to vote the whole ballot. Every vote counts and every elected office does, too.

GGS member Henry Stover comments on advocacy tips shared with the 140 people attending February’s program.

Left: Mindy McDermott (left) and Lynne Bock, co-chairs of the Did You Know postcard project, are prepared to assist people signing the postcards. Right: Judy Sherry poses with Greyson Imm, reporter for the Shawnee Mission East newspaper, The Harbinger. So gratifying to know the younger generation supports gun safety!

Plenty of Time Remains for Legislative Advocacy

With the legislative season at its midpoint, GGS members and supporters have worked hard the past two months advocating for gun safety measures with lawmakers in Topeka and connecting with Missouri legislators and federal lawmakers. Officials have also received the GGS “Did You Know?” information postcards sharing important facts about gun violence.

Kansas: in early January before the session began, nine people joined Advocacy Chair Carla Oppenheimer in Topeka. The group visited all the Democrats in the House and Senate and distributed informative flyers on the Safe Storage of Firearms. In February 12 people, including three from Lives on the Line, joined Carla and participated in 10 meetings with both Democrats and Republicans on the Federal/State Committees in House and Senate. If any gun-related bills advance to a committee hearing, another Topeka trip will be scheduled.

Members from GGS and Lives on the Line met with State Sen. Cindy Holscher, (fourth from the right), a longtime supporter of safe storage legislation. 

The Kansas state Capitol in Topeka where petitioning for safe storage bills was the priority for GGS. 

Missouri: in late January, Carole and Dave Webster traveled to Jefferson City and met with most of the Republican and Democratic senators and representatives from inside the metro area as well as lawmakers from elsewhere in the state. Following that visit, Dave has emailed a weekly Advocacy Alert to a group of Missouri GGS members who are eager to call or write legislators. Among that group is Mary Jo (Mo) Strack, who sent 32 emails in the month of January alone!

GGS members Dave and Carole Webster met with State Sen. Caleb Rowden (center), who’s also running for Missouri Secretary of State.

While it’s important to note our positive interactions with state lawmakers, here’s a recap of questionable gun-related actions legislators took in both states before and after the mass shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl rally:

In Kansas: the very next day after the shooting, the proposed Kansas Gun Rights Preservation Act was introduced in the House. It would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal gun laws.

In Missouri: a bill that would allow guns on public transit and inside churches plus another bill that would exempt firearms and ammunition from sales taxes were on their way to passage in the House but were tabled due to the tragedy. However, as many suspected, both bills have been resurrected. The two bills are HB1708 and HB2291.

On the positive side in Missouri, Blair’s Law focusing on celebratory gunfire was passed by the Senate. The measure would impose severe penalties for recklessly discharging a firearm in or around a municipality. Ironically, the popular measure was combined with many other unrelated regulations to make those added proposals more appealing.

Efforts Grow to End Gunmakers’ Immunity

No other industry except firearms manufacturers enjoys immunity from liability when crimes are committed with their products. An end to that special privilege may be on the horizon.

Passed in 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) includes that unique protection for firearms manufacturers and dealers. Prior to the act’s passage, victims of firearms violence had successfully sued gun manufacturers and dealers for negligence on grounds they should have foreseen their products would be diverted to criminal use. There’s now a growing effort to lessen the influence of gun special interests by ending the gun industry’s immunity and allowing gun violence survivors again to seek justice in federal court.

Kansas City’s Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State, is advocating for the law’s repeal. In his recent column in the Kansas City Star, Kander used a creative approach by citing the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees every citizen the right to a jury trial where the claim for damages is greater than $20. The amendment, passed in 1791, makes no exception for weapons manufacturers.

Valentine Fundraiser Spreads Love and Locks

The Plaza Rotary Club opened its heart by hosting a successful Valentine’s Day fundraiser for GGS’ Lock It For Love gun safety education program.

In the two weeks before the holiday, Rotary members “purchased” hearts with names of their grandchild, child, or a loved one and placed the names on a banner. The Club raised $1,050 that enabled Swope Health on the Plaza to distribute 150 high-quality gun locks to their clients. Thank you!

Plaza Rotary members filled up the banner with hearts honoring loved ones to generously support Lock It For Love and Swope Health.

Plans Underway for June’s Gun Violence Awareness Weekend

This year’s GGS observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day in June will be a collaborative one with local Lives on the Line and Moms Demand Action.

On Saturday June 8, join a march and attend a program at Harmon Park in Prairie Village. Other projects are also underway:

  • LIGHT KC ORANGE for National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday June 7. This initiative will encourage government facilities and businesses throughout the metro area to light their buildings orange.
  • An inter-faith service drawing various denominations and
  • Proclamations issued by cities throughout the metro recognizing the date and its importance.

Check future newsletters for event updates and volunteer opportunities.

And all year long, remember to raise gun violence awareness by observing Wear Orange Day on the 14th of every month. It honors the 26 victims of Sandy Hook who died on December 14, 2012, and sadly, now Lisa Lopez-Galvan, who died in the mass shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl rally on February 14 this year.

Be sure to wear your Vote for Gun Safety button, too! 

In states that have passed mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, suicides and gun-related deaths declined by 49%.

Source: Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Say Their Names

Kansas City experienced its deadliest year on record in 2023, when there were 185 killings in the city. Across the metro area, more than 240 people died by homicide. As of the start of 2024, the Kansas City Metro has recorded 28 homicides.  

We say the names of the most recent victims as a way to honor their lives, while we keep true to our vision that all members of our community have the right to feel safe from gun violence.

Mark Your Calendar

March is Women’s History Month

Wednesday, March 6: GGS President Judy Sherry to participate in a Zoom panel discussion on Gun Violence Prevention and Gun Safety
Sponsored by Old York Road Temple-Beth Am in Abington, PA.
6 pm CST
Zoom Meeting ID: 828 3994 4511 / Passcode 975646

Thursday, March 14: Wear Orange Day
 
Monday, March 25: GGS Monthly Meeting
Nothin’ But the Truth: Debunking Gun Myths

4:00 pm, Colonial Church in Prairie Village, Social Hall
7039 Mission Road
 
Saturday, March 30: National Doctors Day
Thanks to the many doctors who are GGS members and support gun safety initiatives

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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