May 2021 Newsletter

MAY 2021 NEWSLETTER

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

Behind the Badge: Struggles Our Police Partners Face

Monday, May 24
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Zoom Meeting: Link will be sent Sunday. May 23

Here and around the country, law enforcement faces increasing scrutiny in how its officers do their jobs, and understandably so. Most will agree the job is a difficult one.

Every day police officers confront uncertain danger as they respond to a range of stressful emergencies. That stress can lead to physical and mental health problems, marriage and family issues, post-traumatic stress syndrome and at the very worst, suicide.

At GAGV, we feel especially close to police officers. They’ve served as partners in the Lock It For Love program that’s distributed more than 4,000 free gun locks. Before the pandemic, our urban and suburban police partners from 13 different departments on both sides of the state line joined us at the majority of 144 metro-area LIFL community events, demonstrating the correct way to use the locks and providing invaluable support as we promote safe storage of weapons.

This month we’ll hear directly from police officers how they handle their daily stress along with two professionals who help them when they struggle. Police Chief Byron Roberson and Capt. Ivan Washington of the Prairie Village Police Department will be joined by social worker Heather Mason of the Johnson County Mental Health Department and clinical psychologist Jennifer Prohaska, Ph.D.

Join us Monday May 24 for this illuminating discussion on Zoom.

At GAGV’s April program, KU Political Science Professor Mark Joslyn, who studies behavior and attitudes, presented a series of findings from his research showing how firearms shape our political identities. Among those findings: gun owners are more likely to support Republican candidates than their non-gun-owning counterparts and the more guns an individual owns, the more likely he/she is to vote. Prof. Joslyn said 75% of gun owners surveyed reported voting in the 2016 election while only 64% of non-gun owners did.

Read more of Prof. Joslyn’s findings in the April minutes here or view the recorded meeting.

Great Response to Mother’s Day Postcard Advocacy Action

You got mail to send! Thanks to those of you who picked up postcards to send to our U.S. Senators urging them to support expanded background checks. Our card supply was quickly depleted, so we’ve ordered an additional 100. Please email us for more.

The distinctive postcards ask Senators on both sides of the state line to vote for the two background check expansion bills already passed by the U.S. House. Surveys show the public overwhelmingly supports background checks; these Mother’s Day postcards emphasize that. GAGV has also provided cards to the local Moms Demand Action and Colonial Church.

Celebrating Freedom with Juneteenth Holiday

Next month, join GAGV to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday which commemorates the Civil War emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. GAGV will be present at two events in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District recognizing this meaningful holiday.

Juneteenth Cultural Parade
Saturday June 12, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm 
See GAGV represented in the parade by president/founder Judy Sherry in her red car with blue license plate. Wear your orange shirt and walk along her bipartisan car!

Juneteenth Heritage Festival 
Saturday June 19, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm 
GAGV will distribute free gun locks at its Lock It For Love display table

Plans for Annual Community Forum Take Shape

A lineup of national speakers will lead this fall’s 8th Annual (and again virtual) Community Forum on Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic on Monday October 11.

Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor and recognized public health expert featured recently in The New York Times, CNN and NPR, will be the keynote speaker. Other national participants include Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of Giffords Law Center, and Clai Lasher-Sommers, Executive Director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. Watch this space for more details!

Your Amazon Shopping Can Benefit GAGV

If you’re using Amazon this month to buy gifts for Mother’s Day, high school graduations and college commencements, you could also be benefitting GAGV through AmazonSmile. That’s because .5% of all your eligible purchases can be steered to GAGV if you’ve designated it your nonprofit of choice.

If you’ve done that, thank you! If not, it’s easy. Just follow these few steps: Go to smile.amazon.com and sign in with your existing Amazon account credentials, then choose Grandparents Against Gun Violence as the organization to receive your .5%.

To benefit GAGV, be sure your shopping starts at smile.amazon.com or add it as a bookmark to make remembering even easier.

According to its website, Amazon has distributed $266 million to charities around the world since AmazonSmile started eight years ago. So far, GAGV has received about $75, enough to buy 15 gun locks, but far from what it could be with veteran shoppers like you! Sign up today!

Say Their Names

We lost 11 people to homicide in April. We say their names here:

      Mark Your Calendar

      May 9: Happy Mother’s Day!

      May 11 & 25: GAGV Office open 10:00 am – noon
      Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road

      May 24: Monthly meeting/program 4:00 – 5:30 pm
      Behind the Badge: Struggles Our Police Partners Face

      June 12: Juneteenth Cultural Parade 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
      June 19: Juneteenth Heritage Festival 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
      Both events in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District 

      June 28: GAGV monthly meeting from 4:00 – 5:30 pm
      Meet Us in the Political Park
      Our first opportunity to be together in more than a year! Outside location TBD with details to follow.

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

      News You Can Use

      According to The Trace, the nonprofit research group devoted to covering gun violence, the cost of gun violence is staggering. Federal, state and local governments spend a combined average of $34.8 million each day to deal with its aftermath. The annual bill for taxpayers, survivors, families, employers and communities totals $280 billion. Following are just a few of the costs identified:

      • Medical bills: $3.5 billion
      • Policing & criminal justice: $10.7 billion
      • Work loss: $51.2 billion
      • Quality-of-life costs: $214.2 billion

      Read more here: The Economic Cost of Gun Violence

      If ultimately allowed to stand, a bill passed by the Kansas House of Representatives but vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly, would lower the age for concealed carry of weapons from 21 to 18, meaning 91% of students at Kansas Board of Regents institutions would be eligible to carry concealed firearms.

                                            – The Kansas City Star, April 23, 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]

      Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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