Topeka, Kan. — Today, State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Representatives Linda Featherston and Joella Hoye, and over 100 Moms Demand Action volunteers called for action on gun safety during their annual advocacy day in Topeka. This year’s advocacy day coincides with the celebration of 10 years of Moms Demand Action’s life-saving work to protect our families and communities from gun violence.
“We are so excited to highlight 10 years of our grassroots movements’ tireless work to pass life saving gun safety laws here in Kansas,” said Leanna Barclay, local group co-chapter lead with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Today, we are larger than ever before and stand ready to continue this work until every community in Kansas is free from gun violence. We hope lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will prioritize saving our children’s lives from gun violence and prioritize passing life policies like safe firearm storage measures.”
“I have channeled my family’s trauma into action so no other parent has to join this painful club that gun violence survivors do not want to be a part of,” said Mary Snipes, a volunteer with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action and Senior Fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network. Mary’s son, Flexis, was shot and killed in 2018. “Gun violence is a plague that kills so many of our children, and makes our survivor community grow every hour of every day. It’s time we take comprehensive action to fight this epidemic, so no more of our children are at risk of becoming a statistic. We are showing up and continuing to work with lawmakers to pass gun safety laws that will protect our communities and save lives.”
This year, Moms Demand Action volunteers throughout the nation are asking lawmakers to take action and pass proactive measures that will save lives. This comes after Moms Demand Action volunteers had major success this past election cycle — across the country 150 Moms Demand Action volunteers won their race for office, and gun violence prevention proved to be a winning issue — including in Kansas.
Kansas has some of the weakest gun safety laws in the country. Over the past decade, Kansas lawmakers have attempted to repeal the remaining gun safety measures in the state. Moms Demand Action volunteers have worked overtime to advocate against these dangerous measures, and pushed for action to fight the gun violence epidemic.
In 2015, Kansas repealed its concealed weapons permitting requirement, part of a dangerous national trend—allowing people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public without training or background checks. In recent years, lawmakers have introduced several dangerous pieces of legislation to weaken Kansas’ gun laws even further.
Thanks to the advocacy of Kansas Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, in 2017 Kansas passed a permanent exemption of nursing homes, hospitals and mental health facilities from being forced to allow the concealed carry of firearms. This was the first time in Kansas a National Rifle Association (NRA) backed bill was challenged and partially defeated in the state. Again in 2021, Moms Demand Action volunteers played a big part in stopping a bill that would have lowered the age to carry a concealed handgun to 18 in Kansas. Volunteers attended hearings, gave testimony and made countless phone calls, emails and texts helped make this happen.
In 2018, Moms Demand Action volunteers lobbied tirelessly to pass a bill to keep guns out of the hands of -domestic violence abusers, mirroring the federal bills, and closing the gaps in Kansas law that give domestic abusers easy access to guns. The bipartisan bill passed by an overwhelming margin, and was signed into law by republican Governor Jeff Colyer.
In an average year, 434 people die and 655 are wounded by guns in Kansas. An average of 45 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 48% of these deaths are suicides and 48% are homicides. Gun violence in Kansas costs $1,958 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Kansas $5.7 billion each year, of which $95.1 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Kansas is available here.
To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please reach out to [email protected].