July 2021 Newsletter

JULY 2021 NEWSLETTER

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

How Religion Views Guns

GAGV Monthly Meeting
Monday, July 26
4:00 – 5:30 pm
We’re back at Colonial Church! And with new seating for safe spacing!
7039 Mission Road, Prairie Village

Politics isn’t the only dynamic that affects how people view gun ownership. Religion does, too.

Join us to hear Margaret Kelley, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas, who has researched how religious beliefs shape attitudes about gun ownership. In an interview last summer, Dr. Kelley said her research suggests “a religious ethic guides individual gun owners to stress the need to protect, be diligent and defend.”

A native Kansan who earned her doctorate at New York University, Dr. Kelley is also director of her department’s graduate studies. Originally, she focused on drug and alcohol studies. “I actually didn’t study guns until I moved back to Kansas and got into this very unique gun culture here,” she said.

At Meet Me in the Park last month, some 40 GAGV supporters braved rainy weather to reconnect and hear local members of the Kansas Legislature review the recently ended legislative session and share their recommendations for effective ways to advocate. (Missouri lawmakers were unavailable due to a special session called by Gov. Parson.) Read the meeting minutes here.

Also at the June meeting, GAGV member Donna Euston was recognized as the Pat Russell Volunteer of the Quarter. Donna has been an active volunteer with GAGV’s Lock It For Love gun safety initiative and a prolific writer of published letters on gun violence to newspapers including The Kansas City Star, The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Barb McNeile, Lock It For Love Chair (left), and Donna Euston

Community Forum Update

Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Webinar on 
Monday, October 11, 2021

Among the distinguished speakers at the upcoming Community Forum are Drs. Denise Dowd and Shayla Sullivant, both of Children’s Mercy Hospital, who have co-authored an important article published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open, an international, peer-reviewed, open access medical journal.

Their article, Adolescent Access to Firearms – This Is Definitely Our Lane, outlines the need for physicians to explain to families why safe firearms storage is vitally important to protect children and adolescents.

Dr. Dowd and Dr. Sullivant have been ongoing supporters of GAGV’s Lock It For Love initiative that distributes free gun locks at community events along with gun safely information. They are both previous recipients of GAGV’s Advocate of the Year Award.

Read their article here: Adolescent Access to Firearms—This Is Definitely Our Lane.

Learn more here about our other Forum speakers, the program agenda and how you can sponsor, support and register now!

Denise Dowd, M.D. (left) and Shayla Sullivant, M.D. of Children’s Mercy Hospital.

News Too Important to Miss

Former NRA president tricked into speaking to empty chairs

Sadly, the vacant chairs in this video represent the “Lost Class” of 3,044 students who would have graduated from high school this year had they not been victims of gun violence. Watch the video here.

Rachel Maddow featured this story on her show Friday, July 2. She included a wonderful interview with Manuel Oliver, founder of Change the Ref and the father of Joaquin Oliver, one of the “Lost Class.” Read this story about how the stunt was pulled off and the overwhelming response to it: How an Ad Agency Created a Jaw-Dropping Fake Graduation to Protest Gun Violence.

The Effect of Evictions on Gun Violence

The rate of evictions continues to increase, and its effects can be devastating. This article from The Washington Post examines the issue: She wanted to stay. Her landlord wanted her out.

Closer to home, this article, In Kansas City, a wave of evictions could push gun violence to new extremes this year, was written by two reporters from the Gun Violence in Missouri project, funded by Report for America and the Missouri Health Foundation.

Stricter gun laws pass in two states . . .

In Colorado, legislation ended pre-emption, which forbade cities from enacting gun control measures, closed the “Charleston” loophole, which allowed a gun retailer to sell a firearm if a background check had not been completed after three days, and established the Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Read details here

In Virginia, beginning this month, the state becomes one of the first in the nation to enact a voluntary do-not-sell firearms list. Read the story of a suicidal person and the benefit of the law to others like her: Barks: Virginia Law Offers a New Tool for Self-Defense.

. . . while lenient gun legislation passes in Missouri and Kansas

In Missouri, the Second Amendment Preservation Act prohibits state and local officials from cooperating with federal officials who attempt to enforce any laws, rules, orders, or actions that violate the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. However, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County jointly filed suit June 21 asking a judge in Cole County to find the Second Amendment Preservation Act unconstitutional. Read more here.

In Kansas, beginning this month, the age for a concealed carry license has been lowered from age 21, enabling adults aged 18 to 20 to apply for a provisional concealed carry handgun license. They must also complete a mandatory eight-hour weapons safety and training class. The new law also allows reciprocity to recognize permits lawfully issued by other jurisdictions.

Here’s what GAGV member and local cartoonist Bob Unell thinks about that: 

Exciting Recognition for a GAGV Vision Quilt Panel!

Longtime GAGV member Jodi Dinkins was one of the earliest participants in our Vision Quilt project that uses art to express concern about gun violence. Now her quilt creation is of one of only 100 panels installed for the Peace In The Streets Neighborhood Beautification Project in East Oakland, CA. Congratulations, Jodi!

Click here to see and be inspired by quilts completed by our members. It’s easy, fun and meaningful. Email us to let us know of your interest. We’ll happily provide a “how to” video and arrange for delivery of the materials. 

Jodi “wearing” her panel to demonstrate  against gun violence.

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Monday from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at Colonial Church in Prairie Village.

July 26: How Religion Views Guns, with KU sociology professor Margaret Kelley, Ph.D.

August 23: Messaging Matters, PLUS an exciting announcement!

September 27: Gun Violence is Like a Deadly Virus, with Denise Dowd, M.D., from Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Loren Leib, M.P.H., epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Health Department and Brady United Against Gun Violence, California

October 11: 8th Annual Community Forum (virtual) 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Register here

Say Their Names

We’ve lost 15 people to homicide in the metro area since our last newsletter. We say their names here:

      54 is the number of lives lost to gun violence each day in the U.S. through the first five months of 2021. That’s 14 more deaths per day than the average over the past six years and higher than last year’s already-elevated rate, according to The Washington Post on June 16, 2021.


      Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

      P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

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