September 2019 Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & GUNS: A LETHAL COMBINATION

Monday, September 23
4:00 – 5:45 p.m.
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road

For generations, domestic violence was a subject few people wanted to talk about – least of all its victims. Shame, fear of losing children, where to turn and hopelessness all played a significant part in keeping domestic violence a secret. As recently as the 1990s, there were three times as many shelters for abused pets as there were shelters for abused partners.

Those attitudes have changed significantly and for the 30th year in a row, October has been designated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Though there is more attention to the subject, a frightening new element has been added to the toxicity of domestic violence: perpetrators’ easy access to guns. According to the New York Times, in the U.S., at least 50 women a month are shot and killed by their partners. Legislators at the state and national levels have wrestled with how to protect women from their violent abusers, especially those armed with guns.

Officials in Johnson County, KS, have experienced success at that. In 2011, Megan Ahsens, an assistant district attorney working exclusively on domestic violence cases, and her colleagues in social services, created a Lethality Assessment that law enforcement agencies throughout the county now use to evaluate the risk of a domestic violence disturbance escalating into a homicide.

Join us at our meeting September 23rd to hear Megan and Olathe police officer Matt Campbell discuss how successful the 17-question Lethality Assessment has been in fostering a life-saving partnership among victims, law enforcement, the courts and local shelters to diffuse domestic violence and steer its victims to healthier, better lives.

ADVOCACY CORNER

We have noted there are quite a few dictionary definitions of the word Advocacy. They include:

Dictionary.com: the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending

Your Dictionary: the act of speaking on the behalf of or in support of another person, place, or thing

Wikipedia: an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions

Vocbulary.com: When you give your active support to an idea or cause, you are showing your advocacy for that cause

You get the point: there are variations on the definition – and there are also variations on the way we can advocate. In our very own GAGV group we have people who advocate in many different ways such as talking to friends, sharing our Fact Sheet with otherssharing our Facebook posts on their own page, attending community marches and demonstrations, writing their legislators, working as a Lock It For Love volunteer, baking cookies and bringing donations for the various groups we support throughout year, and, of course, attending our monthly meetings. We are proud of the many advocacy actions our members take to bring our tag line Educate Advocate Participate to life in so many ways.

One of the many ways we advocate for gun safety: GAGV members sporting their orange GAGV shirts at the Sharice Davids’ Roundtable on Gun Safety August 24.

Mark Your Calendars

Sunday, September 15 – Annual Speak Up Walk at Garmin Pavilion 

1200 E. 151st Street, Olathe
Registration at 8 am / Walk starts at 9 am

A collaboration of Speak Up, Greater KC Mental Health Coalition and Jewish Family Services to help end the stigma of suicide.

Sunday, September 29 – #Zero Reasons Why March & Rally

Mill Creek Park, Country Club Plaza, 43rd and Broadway

Saturday, October 5 – Out of Darkness Walk at Swope Park 

10 am to noon

Sponsored by the Greater Kansas City chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Monday, October 14 – 6th Annual Community Forum on Gun Violence

Gun Violence: Insights from Both Ends of the Gun, sponsored by the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence, a program of GAGV.

8:30 am to 2:30 pm

Learn how you can attend and help sponsor this important Forum.

Spread the word by sharing the Save the Date with family and friends. Purchase your tickets!

    News You Can Use 

    While we wait to see if our legislators have the courage to act, individuals and companies are responding on their own:

    Walmart to Limit Ammunition Sales and Discourage ‘Open Carry’ of Guns in Stores


      The March For Our Lives students have created a Peace Plan for a Safer America to address gun violence. They are demanding change:

      Change the standards of gun ownership

      Halve the rates of gun deaths in ten years

      Accountability for the gun lobby and industry

      Name a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention

      Generate community-based solutions 

      Empower the next generation 

      ARE WE REACHING THE TIPPING POINT TOWARD ANY GUN REGULATION?

      As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of lives in mass shootings and here in our own city, it seems that public opinion might finally prevail, and Congress will take some action. But we have thought that before – and been disappointed – so now’s the time to become a real ADVOCATE and put pressure on our State and Federal elected officials to pass meaningful gun legislation. We cannot accept anything less – and must not accept diversionary tactics like blaming video games and mental health. This is about access to firearms. We must demand these most basic regulations be passed:

      1. Close the loopholes in background check laws. No matter how many times we hear a mass shooter bought the gun “legally” we also know that since 1993, background checks have blocked the sale of more than 3 million guns to prohibited buyers. (A loophole made it possible for the Odessa TX shooter to obtain a firearm, when a background check would have prevented his purchase.)
      2. Limit the size of magazines. Those that can shoot 30 rounds in a manner of seconds must not be allowed.
      3. Enact laws calling for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (Red Flag Laws) that will allow family and intimate partners to get a court order to remove a gun from a person who is in danger of harming himself/herself or others.

      Email. Call. Show up at their offices. Here’s how to find your legislators’ contact information. And of course, Mitch McConnell’s


      IF YOU MISSED OUR AUGUST MEETING

      We can tell you about it, but our words cannot replace the emotion the 80+ attendees experienced while hearing Claire Tietgen tell her story of attempting suicide three times, beginning at age 13, after dealing with bullying for years. Hers is a positive story as she found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, enjoyed success, build confidence and is now, at 17, working with her whole family at the E3 Sports Facility they created to help other kids build their self-confidence to succeed. August meeting minutes.

      We also named our Pat Russell Volunteer of the Quarter. It was an easy choice because Gail Roberson fits the bill to a T. She is totally tenacious and truly talented and has helped GAGV in so many ways. Gail is a dedicated LIFL volunteer and played a major role in the production of our two new videos: one promoting gun safety and the role of Lock It For Love, and the most recent, featuring interviews with Highlands Elementary parents after the March 1 shooting at the school (check our Facebook page to view it).

      From The Diary of a Young Girl, first published in 1947,
      two years after her death at age 14.