gun violence | KCUR

gun violence

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.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says that without focusing on basic city services in 2020, any goodwill that’s been built up means nothing.

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:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Lawmakers representing district in the Kansas City metropolitan area have introduced hundreds of bills to this year's session of the Missouri General Assembly. 

Some of the bills, like a statewide prescription drug monitoring program or banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, have been priorities for years but didn't get to the governor's desk. Other proposals, like those dealing with violent crimes, have come into focus with a climb in homicides

KCUR talked with eight local lawmakers to find out what they’re prioritizing this session.

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. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 5 p.m. Monday

Two people died and 15 were injured in a shooting late Sunday outside of a nightclub near U.S. 40 and Noland Road in Kansas City.

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

Segment 1: 2019 highlights from the religion beat

From Paris and Christchurch to St. Louis, Missouri, storylines on religion and faith took us around the world over the last year. We reviewed those with the most impact, including the evangelical embrace of President Donald Trump's policies.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City violence this year has exceeded 2018 totals, and is approaching the modern high-water mark left in 2017, when the city tallied 151 homicides and 505 nonfatal shootings.

A year ago, police saw an improved homicide clearance rate as reason for optimism. This year, the clearance rate sagged while shootings and homicides rose.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas pushed through a couple of minor city ordinances that could help police target a small subset of gun crimes this year. Kansas City police raised the reward for homicide tips and shifted the focus of an existing anti-violence program. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson suggested passing gun laws that mirror existing federal law.

All the while, the city is still bleeding, on pace for about 150 homicides and another 500 nonfatal shootings by the end of the year.

What motivates a Baptist pastor to provide AIDS education, a fitness center and other unconventional services.

Reverend Eric Williams has been at the forefront of AIDS outreach since 1991, when he held a funeral for an openly gay man after a colleague refused to do it. Today, he continues to focus his ministry on health as a way of helping his congregant achieve the "abundant life" he preaches about. Hear his story, beginning with a childhood in zipcode 64130.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 people gathered in front of the home of Cameron Lamb on a cold Saturday afternoon, offering remembrances of the 26-year-old man fatally shot by a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer nearly two weeks ago. 

Segment 1: Chief Smith speaks to 'disheartening' amount of violent crime in Kansas City, Missouri.

Element5 Digital / Unsplash

Democrats in Virginia claimed big wins in the Tuesday election, fueled in no small part by big investments from gun control advocates.

The historic blue wave marked the first time Democrats seized control of the state’s government in a generation.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

When Quinton Lucas was elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, he said his success would be determined by three issues: crime, housing, and infrastructure.

With 100 days behind him as of Friday, Lucas says he’s feeling good about his progress.

Segment 1: The Unified Government's chief executive discusses violent crime, economic development and local elections.

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: A mass shooting on Central Avenue leaves a community grief-stricken.

Our reporter describes the weekend's shocking news from Wyandotte County, and a community leader asks Kansas Citians to understand what happened as an isolated incident that struck a growing, hard-working, tight-knit neighborhood.

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.

Shattered: A First-Hand Look At Life After Being Shot

Sep 25, 2019
Tyrone Turner / WAMU

Of the estimated 300 people in the United States who are shot on an average day, about 200 survive. But many of them do so with devastating physical and emotional scars that last a lifetime.

Their ailments range from paralysis and possible lead poisoning, to crippling anxiety attacks and depression.

Eleven survivors of gun violence tell their stories in their own words in Shattered: Life After Being Shot.

Every individual’s story is paired with a portrait — a composite — using a “stitching” technique that combines multiple pictures.

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: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Segment 1: Council rookies relate what the first month on the job has been like.

In her first weeks on the Kansas City City Council Andrea Bough realized, "it puts you in the position of ... making a decision based upon what's good for the city as a whole." She and other fellow first-timers talk about learning how the council operates, and the urgent issues, like gun violence, that were waiting for them when they arrived.

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.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Eight-year-old Brian Bartlett was asleep in his home earlier this month when someone sprayed dozens of bullets into his bedroom. 

While his death was shocking, Kansas City is now four years into a wave of increased killings and officials are grasping for solutions.

Police quietly shifted their anti-violence strategy months ago. But it might not be the solution officials hope for.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Wikimedia Commons

Update, August 29, 5:11 p.m.: The full Kansas City Council approved both ordinances on Thursday.

Kansas City, Missouri, could take a step toward stricter gun laws — despite loose state laws.

So far this year, there have been 99 homicides. Five victims were 16-years-old or younger and 29 were between the ages of 17 and 24.

On Wednesday, a Kansas City Council committee unanimously passed two ordinances which are aimed at keeping handguns and other firearms out of the hands of minors. Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced the measures earlier this month.

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: Addressing gun violence from the pulpit

Local leaders looking for a fix to the gun violence problem in Kansas City have tried policy solutions of their own, and have begged for legislative action from the General Assembly in Jefferson City. Progress, though, has been limited. Will turning to a higher power help? We ask local faith leaders what role their churches have in curbing gun violence.

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