WHY IT MATTERS
Gun Sense is a common sense approach to reducing gun violence.
Gun Sense is not about taking away a constitutional right to own firearms.
Gun Sense is about passing sensible gun laws. Reducing gun violence is important, as gun deaths and injuries are increasing across the country.
Gun Sense matters particularly in Missouri, where firearm related deaths increased 64% between 2001 and 2017. Missouri now ranks 6th in the nation for gun violence. Every year, Missouri loses 21.5 residents per 100,000 people. (Total firearm deaths in 2016: suicides - 650; homicides - 464).
Kansas is only slightly better, with 13.3 firearm deaths per 100,000 (Total firearm deaths in 2016: suicides - 257; homicides - 113).
Those numbers are likely continue to increase as long as our state legislators continue to lessen gun restrictions – passing laws to allow open carry without gun safety training, allowing guns in sensitive areas such as schools, daycares, college campuses, and bars or taverns.
Gun safety advocates all agree: common sense fun laws save lives. Some of these measures include:
Comprehensive background checks on all gun sales.
Red Flag laws to keep guns from domestic abusers and those experiencing a crisis.
CALLS TO ACTION
We Need a Federal Fix for Gun Violence in America
This was both an inspiring and a difficult week for gun violence. People came out in the hundreds both in Kansas and Missouri to call on our legislators to finally pass common sense gun legislation, and we were happy to see both Governor Kelly of Kansas and Mayor Quinton Lucas of KCMO out in support. But again we saw gun violence in the metro.
We’re still waiting for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring back the Senate from recess to vote on any number of bills that could prevent gun violence. One, HR8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act, was passed by the House of Representatives in February. And McConnell has sat on it ever since. No compromises. No counter legislation. No action. This bill isn’t the end-all, be-all, of course. But it’s a start. Instead, Republicans are more concerned about how to frame mass shootings as a problem from the left (the linked article contains leaked Republican talking points on why they won’t act on gun violence. Read it. It’s infuriating).
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who is Chair of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations committee, indicated he does NOT support new funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research to “better understand and prevent injury and death as a result of firearm violence.” It’s most definitely an epidemic, but we won’t even allocate resources to prevent more massacres.
A few Republican Missouri Representatives said this week that gun legislation won’t fix our problems with guns. They’re not completely wrong. (Stay with us for a second.) Municipal and state gun legislation might curb it, but it won’t stop it. These reps can’t fix it. They don’t have the power. In cities like Kansas City where someone can hop across a state line to get what they want to commit murder, what do the laws in Missouri matter? Starting from Kansas City, you can be in one of six states in six hours or fewer. We need a federal fix for gun violence in America. Improvements can start at our city council meetings and in our state houses. But it’s up to Congress to make the big fix.
What you can do:
Join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in their fight. Text CHECKS to 644-33 to be connected to your senators to demand a vote on HR8.
Also, call your representatives in D.C. and tell them you are part of the majority of Americans who support gun sense legislation.
KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly spoke for gun sense legislation this week.
As Indivisible KC volunteers, being civically engaged means joining in with orgs that are doing the important work on the issues we value (that’s why we try to amplify those orgs as much as possible!). So it was as Moms Demand Action members that a few of us had the opportunity to hitch a ride on the 3 a.m. bus to Iowa to hear from seventeen candidates at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum (NY Times article). We live-updated on Facebook and Twitter, and you can check the full livestream here.
It’s a testament to the power of activism that by our count, every single candidate vowed to pass universal background checks, close the loophole that allows some domestic abusers access to guns, and increase regulations on assault weapons.
In a time and place where children are killed sleeping in their beds and men can legally walk through Walmart decked in body armor and semiautomatic weapons, those common sense measures couldn’t be more important.
NEWS & BACKGROUND INFO
Click through to read more about bills, their status, full text, sponsors and how specific elected representatives voted. (Best viewed on a larger screen.)
Colors bars to the left of bills indicate IKC strong support (bright green) to strong oppose (dark red).
We will be ranking more pieces of proposed legislation in the 2020 session. If you'd like to help us sort through the bills related to gun sense, go to our volunteer form, here.
**Data supplied by Bill Track 50**