The Kansas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Kansas lawmakers advanced Senate Bill 116, a bill to require children enrolled in firearm safety training programs in public schools to go through the National Rifle Association’s “Eddie Eagle” program. The program was deemed ineffective by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Lawmakers advanced this bill despite hearing testimony in opposition from Kansas Moms Demand Action volunteers and Kansas education professionals, including the Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas PTA, Kansas National Education Association.
“Lawmakers are boldly flaunting their allegiance to the gun lobby with this bill that has been proven to be ineffective,” said Colleen Cunningham, a volunteer with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Their allegiance should be to our children in Kansas schools, not faulty programs pushed by the NRA. The onus to keep guns out of reach should always be on adults. If lawmakers were really interested in protecting our children, they would support programs that put the responsibility on parents to securely store firearms, not on children.”
While some Kansas lawmakers are showing their allegiance to the gun lobby over Kansas lives, some lawmakers, like Kansas State Senator Cindy Holscher, are standing up to the gun lobby and advocating for critical gun safety measures. Earlier this month, both Senator Holscher (SB 137) and Representative Featherson (HB 2403) introduced bills aimed at reducing unintentional shootings by children and teens by requiring that gun owners safely and securely store firearms. Guns are the leading cause of death among kids and teens in Kansas, and requiring safe storage is vital to saving lives.
“Too often we hear stories of children accessing their parents’ unlocked guns, and shooting themselves or others,” said Deb Boatright, a volunteer with the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Safely storing guns in Kansas will save so many lives. We are thankful for Senator Holscher for prioritizing gun safety, and urge them to pass this critical public safety measure.”
Research shows secure firearm storage can play a vital role in reducing unintentional shootings, school shootings, and gun suicide. Over the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among young people has increased faster than in any other age group, reaching its highest rate in more than 20 years. By keeping firearms securely stored, gun owners can help mitigate the risk of gun violence at home and in schools.
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.