Earlier today I stood inside the Rose Brooks Center, a tremendous facility in Kansas City. The Rose Brooks Center provides emergency shelter to women and children escaping life-threatening abuse. I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for the employees, volunteers and donors of Rose Brooks, because here in Kansas City, as we are seeing group violence go down as a result of the work of KC NoVA, domestic violence, sadly, is on the rise.
I may start to sound like a broken record, but as long as my hands are tied on the issue, I will continue to use my voice to urge lawmakers to use their heads. Rather than looking for solutions to our gun violence problem, our legislature is poised to double down on stupid and override Governor Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656.
If you liken our gun violence problem to lung cancer then this bill is the equivalent of lighting up a pack of cigarettes every night. It’s fueling the problem – certainly not making it better. There are several issues with this bill worth noting:
It completely eliminates the need to secure a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm. It also eliminates local sheriffs’ ability to determine who can and cannot carry a concealed weapon. According to a news article from MissouriNet, just last year alone, over 1,700 conceal and carry permits were turned down by sheriffs. There are people out that that local sheriffs KNOW should not be allowed to pack heat. A prime example would be domestic violence offenders. Allowing someone with a record of domestic violence offenses to carry concealed firearms has life and death implications.
But that is only the beginning.
This legislation endangers both our communities and our law enforcement who make every effort to serve & protect.
Today I was joined by several concerned members of the community who wanted to share with you why this is dangerous territory to be treading in. Senate Bill 656 is a crippling piece of legislation that puts the lives of women and children, like the ones who call Rose Brooks home, in further danger. In addition, it doesn’t take into consideration the needs of those on the front lines of ensuring their safety or the safety of any citizen, our law enforcement officers.
This bill would put law enforcement at risk because they would have no way of knowing if someone is carrying a concealed weapon.
As a father, it’s hard for me to imagine doing something as simple as letting my kids get behind the wheel of a car without having been trained how to operate a vehicle. I don’t know that there are many parents out there who would feel comfortable doing that either. And yet the consequences of this bill allow the a person at least 19 years of age to carry a concealed firearm without any proper training.
So, you need a driver’s license to drive, you have to be 21 to buy liquor and yet, you can carry a concealed weapon at age 19 with zero training. That is ludicrous on its face.
Domestic violence has steadily been on the rise in the State of Missouri. In 2015, Kansas City saw the most dramatic spike in domestic violence related homicides in years. More than 10 percent of the total homicides were the result of domestic violence incidents.
I want to urge the Missouri Legislature to uphold the veto on Senate Bill 656. We have to stop politicizing an issue that has claimed far too many lives. Protecting the integrity of the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that we should readily accept watching our children, friends and neighbors die at the hands of those who likely should not be carrying a gun in the first place.
We have to take a long, hard look at what is happening in our own cities and cities across America. We cannot protect women and children from their abusers if we are making it easier for those abusers to carry a concealed weapon that could end their lives before they receive the protection and social services they need. We cannot continue to put the lives of our law enforcement partners in danger as they seek to serve and protect our community. And we absolutely cannot sit back and watch as lawmakers make it easier for criminals to commit slow motion mass murder in our neighborhoods and our schools.
It’s time to realize that reducing crime in cities takes the help of EVERYONE at the federal, state, and local level. Overturning the veto does nothing to make our neighborhoods or our residents safe. I urge legislators to use common sense on this issue and in doing so, help protect the lives of countless Missourians. And I’ll be watching tomorrow (Wednesday, September 14) to see who votes to support this bill and will be personally inviting them to join me in a ride along with KCPD through the neighborhoods in our city who have been most impacted by gun violence.
I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make lawmakers in Jefferson City realize what they’re doing to us and I urge you to call your lawmakers and ask them how this bill protects our citizens. You can find their contact info HERE.
The full text of Senate Bill 656 can be found here: http://www.senate.mo.gov/16info/pdf-bill/tat/SB656.pdf