At a time when we gathered to celebrate, we were instead confronted with gun violence, sadly adding Kansas City to the continually-growing list of cities plagued by firearm tragedies. We are now and forever linked with the Highland Park, IL, 4th of July parade  celebration and the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“It couldn’t happen here,” we thought. Now it has, and we must act. Grandparents for Gun Safety is committing itself to stand up to legislators who ignore their constituents’ urgent calls to pass common ground gun reform legislation. Such legislation, also supported by a majority of the general public, would not inhibit the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and would respect the equally-important rights of people entitled to feel safe in their own communities.

The majority of our elected officials currently serving in the Kansas and Missouri state legislatures and those representing us in Congress refuse to recognize easy access to guns is one fixable cause of so many of these horrendous events. We have dutifully written and repeatedly phoned them and have been rebuffed or ignored.

While we must continue that one-sided communication, it’s time to take an activist approach. That’s why we’ve named 2024 The Year of the Vote. We must elect legislators who support common ground gun reform, who respond to phone calls, emails and testimonies and whose votes reflect our positions. Because we elect the legislators, they work for us – not special interests that buy their votes.

Every election is important, from precinct captain to school board, to representatives and senators in our state and federal delegations, and many other races in between. In future newsletters we’ll provide relevant voter information you can share with friends, colleagues, neighbors and family. (You may be surprised how much you already know and how much they don’t!) We’ll also suggest many ways to become an activist in this Year of the Vote!

We hope you’ll stand with us and work together to ensure safer lives for our children and grandchildren.