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One year later: vigil held for Jaquail Mansaw

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 23:26:04-05

The one-year anniversary of the death of Jaquail Mansaw was marked with music, candles and balloons.

In 2015, the seven-month-old boy was killed in a drive-by shooting at his KCK home that is still unsolved. His mom, Balethia Washington was distraught during the vigil.

"I would do anything and I mean anything to have my son back," she said.

Wenderlin Gardner, Jaquail's grandmother added, "It's hard on our family. It's hard and our life changed overnight in a matter of seconds."

There was a candlelight vigil, opening with a prayer for comfort and stronger gun laws.

"I really think they need to make the laws stricter. I think too many guns are out on the street," Gardner said.

On Tuesday, President Obama issued an executive action calling for more enforcement of existing gun laws citing a study done by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

"Since Missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to almost 50 percent higher than the national average,” said President Obama.

UMKC Law Professor Allen Rostron says the Johns Hopkins’ study showcased important factors about gun violence.

"They [the study] found that violence with guns, murders in particular, increased in Missouri. So their conclusion would be that that change in the law led to about 50 to 60 something additional deaths from guns per year in Missouri. There are other people who criticize that kind of study and they say that it's very difficult to take into account all the many other factors that could affect the number of crimes committed with guns."

Rostron tells 41 Action News that Missouri is one of the less restrictive states when it comes to gun laws.

"If you sort of had a whole spectrum of all the states, Missouri is certainly on the less restrictive part."

Rostron also noted that Kansas is even less so.

"Like Missouri, Kansas has also moved in the direction of making it easier to have access to guns. There's no push there for gun control in Kansas. There's really no push for it in Missouri either. They've taken the position that you shouldn't need a permit from the government to carry a gun whether you want to carry it openly or concealed."

As the Washington family advocates for change in gun laws and continues to ask anyone with information about the murder of Jaquail to come forward, his mother, Balethia Washington says she won’t give up.

"I'm not giving up. There's no such thing as giving up," said Washington.

The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Jaquail's death is up to $7900.

If you have any information please call police.

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Dia Wall can be reached at dia.wall@kshb.com.

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