Gun Control | KCUR

Gun Control

Hundreds of gun-restriction advocates visited the Missouri Statehouse on Tuesday to encourage lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures. 

The specific legislation Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action want would prohibit anyone with a domestic offense conviction or an order of protection from purchasing a firearm.

Scott Franz / KUNC

In its annual scorecard ranking the strength of state gun laws, the gun control advocacy group Giffords boosted ratings for a handful of states in the Midwest and West, most of which have traditionally been home to a strong gun rights culture.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released its scorecard Thursday, touting six states that received higher grades:

Jaclyn Driscoll / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers are at odds on how to solve the spike in gun violence and gun deaths in urban areas across the state, discussing it this week in the wake of one of Kansas City’s worst shootings in recent memory. 

Segment 1: Previewing 2020's public safety stories

Kansas City has been staring down a violent crime problem for years and officials at both the state and federal levels are primed to implement a myriad of solutions. But KCUR reporters said it could be months before we see any results.

  • Chris Haxel, Guns and America reporter at KCUR
  • Sam Zeff, metro reporter at KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 25:56: Where fast food and black entrepreneuership meet

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

With city leaders scrambling to combat high levels of gun violence, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is dusting off an old legal tactic: suing the gun industry.

Such lawsuits were relatively common in the 1980s and 1990s, until Congress passed a law in 2005 that largely curtailed the tactic.

Segment 1: Two men formed an unlikely friendship through a shared tragedy.

Tariq Khamisa was a 20-year-old college student delivering a pizza in 1995 when he was shot and killed by 14-year-old Tony Hicks. Azim Khamisa said he reached out to Ples Felix, the grandfather of his son's murderer, because he saw "victims at both ends of the gun." They became friends and work together in addressing gun violence through The Forgiveness Project.

Segment 1: New poll data suggests Americans don't know much when it comes to gun-related deaths.  

The results of the latest survey by Guns and America asked people about the causes of gun deaths. Their answers show that more Americans believe it be “murders other than mass shootings" than the actual cause – suicide. Two reporters for the project broke down the survey results and what it means for gun policies in this country.

Jean Peters Baker

Sep 19, 2019

Jean Peters Baker has been the Jackson County Prosecutor since 2011, and she's often in the news, but usually talking about everything but herself. Today we learn about her personal life experience and how it's shaped her indignation in the courtroom and beyond. Plus, insights into her political aspirations and the future of the Democratic Party in Missouri.

Segment 1: What Kansas City area organizations are doing to reduce gun violence 

In 2017, firearms killed nearly 40,000 people with 60% of those being suicides. Every year 1,500 children die from guns including those left unlocked in the home. This week in Kansas City, Missouri five persons died in a 24-hour period from gun-related incidents.  Three women deeply involved in these issues expressed frustration, desperation and determination about reducing gun violence. 

Segment 1: Gun policy specialist says the gun control debate needs to shift.

In his book "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America," constitutional law specialist Adam Winkler examines how Americans approach the gun control debate. He explained the need to concentrate on ending everyday gun violence rather than mass shootings, and says gun rights and gun control are not mutually exclusive.

Segment 1: Lawmakers from urban districts want their counterparts from rural Missouri to come witness the devestation guns create in their cities.

Members of Missouri's Legislative Black Caucus expressed frustration with Gov. Mike Parson for his unwillingness to take up gun violence in next month's special session. They say they're not shocked, but disheartened, by the lack of urgency to address the issue.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the homicide count in Kansas City continues to creep up and mass shootings happen regularly across the country, religious leaders from the suburbs to the city are finding it increasingly necessary to address the violence.

"We see a lot of memes, Facebook, and social media about 'thoughts and prayers are not going to take us much further' but, indeed, prayer is the foundation of the church," says the Rev. Laurie Anderson, minister of church life at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park.

Segment 1: The fact and fiction of mass shootings.

Last week's shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, highlighted misconceptions when it comes to these tragedies. Is there a profile of a mass shooter, can red flag and gun laws reduce the number of incidents and are all the perpetrators mentally ill? Three Guns & America reporters discussed what they have discovered in covering the firearms issues in this country. 

Segment 1: Former ambassador to the U.N., Israel,  Jordan and Russia critiqued American foreign policy in the Middle East.

President Trump took a new route with America's policy on Iran by making the decision to withraw from their nuclear treaty and reimpose sanctions on the country. Ambassador Pickering offered his views on the U.S. strategy in the region and how our role can help or hurt the cause of peace and security there.

Matt Richmond/ideastream

Say you keep a firearm for home defense. Picture your small daughter finding your gun. If it's loaded, that could be the last thing she ever does.

It's not exactly a rare scenario. Firearm injuries were the second-leading cause of death among children in 2016, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Safety technology could make accidental firing impossible, at least that's what developers hope.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Read her lips

A month away from becoming the next governor of Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly says she’s deep into budget preparation.

Although she’s been as steeped in the workings of state government as any Kansas wonk during her 14 years in the state Senate, the Topekan says agencies find themselves in worse repair than she imagined.

“The problems are broad,” she said, “and they’re deep.”

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

More beds or more services

Legislators heard Wednesday that Kansas either needs to improve a range of services for the mentally ill or to be prepared to more than double the number of psychiatric beds available. Or both.

Today, the state offers 258 slots in mental health hospitals. Madeline Fox reports that’s down from more than 1,000 beds in 1990. A report from January says the state needs 300 more.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson arrived in Kansas City on Thursday for what he said was a commitment to working with the state's two biggest cities. He was joined by Democrats Kansas City Mayor Sly James and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on a multistop tour of the city.

If there’s one common refrain from nearly all of the Kansas candidates for governor — Republicans and Democrats — it’s support for the Second Amendment.

Jessica Wohl

Artist Jessica Wohl searches for what everyone has in common — even if it’s a testy desire to be heard.

By looking at the seven quilts she’ll show in Weinberger Fine Art’s new exhibition, “Thoughts And Prayers,” it’s hard to say what Wohl’s political leanings are. But she contends that her particular opinions are not the point of this collection.

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why a consent decree between Kansas City and the EPA is impacting how much you pay for sewer services.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City-area students joined their peers from across the country on Friday, rallying to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre and pay tribute to other victims of mass shootings.

Students left their schools and made their way to a rally in Midtown's Hyde Park, where students from 10 high schools organized the rally to coincide with the walkouts. It attracted about 150 people. Although that fell short of their goal of 500, the teen organizers said they were glad they got to connect with students from other schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Students in Kansas City and across the country stage a school walkout, 19 years after a mass shooting at Columbine High School.

Photo illustration / Kansas News Service

Younger people could carry guns even as local authorities gain new powers to take guns away in some situations. Police videos could become more available and people held in prison wrongfully could expect payments from the state.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, 16-year-old Taylor Mills paid a visit to Rep. Kevin Yoder's office in Overland Park, Kansas. Mills, a junior at Blue Valley North High School, was there to invite the Republican congressman to a town hall she and others were organizing after Kansas City's 'March for Our Lives' rally a few weeks ago.

file photo / Kansas News Service

At school, Kansas students learn what to do in case a shooter attacks. Lock classroom doors. Turn out the lights. Huddle out of view from the window in the door.

In the Statehouse, lawmakers are searching for consensus on better ways to prevent, or cut short, school shootings. Arm teachers? Fortify schools? Train kids about guns?

On Tuesday, the feelings clashed in a committee hearing and on the floor of the Kansas House just days after gun control activists drew crowds to March for Our Lives protests in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and across the country.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Even in the wake of national and local protests, students and others pushing for tighter gun laws say, state and federal lawmakers from Kansas refuse to tackle even “common sense” firearm rules.

Thousands rallied across the state over the weekend. They called for stronger background checks. They pushed an assault weapons ban. And they pleaded for laws to extract guns from homes where suicide and domestic violence appear imminent.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Thousands came to Kansas City's Theis Park Saturday afternoon to join with protests around the world demanding action against gun violence. The "March for Our Lives" events were organized and inspired by the student survivors of last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Last year the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state wasn't adequately funding its public schools. What the justices didn’t say was how much more money would be enough. But a new development has potentially changed the debate to the tune of $2 billion dollars. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Students across Kansas joined their peers elsewhere in the country by walking out of school Wednesday and into the national debate over guns.

The mid-morning walkouts took them to the streets, to the Kansas Statehouse and circling around their schools to mark the one-month anniversary of the nation’s latest mass school shooting.

Many of the protests centered on 17 minutes of silence, 60 seconds for each person killed during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

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