KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City, Missouri, reaches triple digits in homicides for the calendar year, one community organization is stepping up to advance the difficult conversations needed for a positive way forward.
Grandparents Against Gun Violence began in earnest after the shooting at Sandy Hook in 2013 and now boasts more than 1,000 supporters on both sides of the State Line. They advocate and educate for gun safety and safe gun storage for those who own firearms.
"There are too many guns and the frustration for us is that it's such a societal issue, we can't solve the gun violence issue if we can't solve the other pieces: that's the homelessness, that's disenfranchisement, everything that we're talking about more currently now," president Judy Sherry said.
She added that this current moment, locally and nationally, gives her group an important opportunity.
"The hope would be, as I say, that some of what we're seeing now in the protests and what we're learning is that we have to tend to some of the ills of our society that we have not dealt with. My hope, quite honestly, to me right now, it's about voting. People should understand everywhere from their school board to all the way up to the highest levels," Sherry said.
The group's membership skews to an older demographic, but Sherry said they welcome anyone of any age to join and continue constructive conversations.
"It's because we're grandparents, and so our work is for our children and our grandchildren hoping that someday, there will be a time our vision would be that everyone in every community is safe from gun violence, that's the vision. That's the aspiration. That people who own guns are educated and responsible and have passed the background checks. So we know that they're safe to have a gun and people understand what a gun is for," Sherry said. "And I believe we will get there. Will we live to see it, maybe not. But that's okay if we set the stage and I think most of us have worked very hard to involve our own grandchildren."