Common Sense for Gun Safety

MainStream has long supported gun safety laws. We believe that reasonable gun ordinances help communities feel safer, and that each community must have the ability to regulate guns as they best see fit. You can see where we stand on our website, but here is our statement on gun safety, "The MainStream Coalition supports the Second Amendment, but affirms that the right to bear arms does not extend to endangering the public. We strongly support local control over firearm and weapons related ordinances and regulations, and believe those regulations should require responsible and safe gun ownership."

In the wake of the shootings in Lawrence this weekend, and then waking up this morning to the worst mass shooting in the nation's history in Las Vegas, we wanted to say few words.

First, our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims, to the injured, and to those who witnessed these murders. We wish this had not happened, and we work to try to prevent these situations from happening. We work with amazing organizations like Moms Demand Action and Grandparents Against Gun Violence. We educate on the issues around gun safety. We testify and report and talk about it. We encourage all of you to do so, too.

Guns are a complicated issue in Kansas, and often crosses party lines. In our latest voting scorecard, on the vote on HB 2278 to support a concealed carry ban in public hospitals and mental institutions, 33 Kansas state Representatives and 16 Senators voted against it. But not all of those votes were from ultra-conservatives. And that vote was a final compromise after bills to keep concealed weapons out of colleges and universities had failed repeatedly. In fact, looking back to the original concealed carry bill, SB 45 in 2015, that allowed guns on campuses, it passed with bi-partisian support. (See our 2016 scorecard for the votes)

But there are two aspects of guns safety every Kansan can agree on.

Gun owners must be safe owners

To own a gun, you must be able to be safe with it. If you intend to use it to hunt, or for your own protection, you must be able to keep others safe around your gun. Knowing how to safely handle, load, store, and shoot a gun seems like an obvious step. So many weapons fall into the wrong hands, be they criminal, child, or estranged lover, that knowing simple steps to take to secure your guns is just common sense. And yet, in Kansas, you do not need to know how to use a gun, to own a gun. Training seems like an obvious step to ensure that. But with no license required to own a gun, there is no training required to own a gun. Training would save lives. Still, Kansas extremists and their lobby, the NRA, fight tooth and claw to defeat these common sense safety measures.

Not every community is the same

Rural towns in Kansas have different needs than urban ones. Where someone in Scott County may live far from their neighbors, and need a gun for peace of mind, families in Johnson County may fear guns in rush hour traffic, or in the Thanksgiving sales crush. This is why each municipality must have the right to regulate their own gun ordinances. The extremists in the Kansas legislature rise up quickly when the Federal government looks to mandate health care, crying out that Kansas must determine its own needs. And yet, they are just as quick to impose a blanket Kansas ban on cities and towns looking to make their communities safer. This hypocrisy is standard procedure for those who listen to their lobbyists, not their constituents.

These are two simple principles. Our police officers, state troopers, security officers and safety officers put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe. Can't we help them? Our elected leaders, in our cities and towns, in our sheriff offices, and in the statehouse, are charged with our safety. They must act to prevent these kinds of acts. We must tell them we want these, the simplest of gun safety measures.

What can you do?

At our Stand Up, Speak Out event on October 22nd, we will be honoring Judy Sherry for her long activism in many causes. One of those causes is her dedication to Grandparents Against Gun Violence, an organization she founded and led for many years. MainStream, and Grandparents Against Gun Violence, are part of the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence, and we are holding a community forum next Monday, October 9th. Register to attend, and learn what you can do to help keep our communities safe.

Do more than vote. Get informed, get involved, make a difference.

Do you like this post?
Sign Up

if you are new to MainStream.

Sign In

if you're a Member or part of our network.