Patricia “Peezy” Mullins
A lawyer in Kansas City was shot dead. Gun violence touched my community more closely than ever before.
We all live in a variety of communities. Some are very large and some much smaller. Personally, I am a citizen of the world and of the United States, two large communities. I live in the Kansas City metropolitan area, I work as a lawyer and my church is St. Peter’s Catholic Church, where both of my children attended primary school. Gun violence is wreaking havoc on our communities.
In 2016, there were 58,794 incidents involving guns. Of those incidents, 15,082 resulted in death and 30,618 resulted in injuries.* This is not universal. Other countries are not plagued by the gun violence in the United States. Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns than citizens of other developed countries and U.S.A.’s murder rate is 25 times higher than other developed countries.
While Americans may be more violent than other individuals, the more likely culprit is America’s ridiculously lenient gun laws. Missouri is very close to the top of the list for gun laws that do nothing to prevent anyone from owning a gun. In fact, Missouri’s legislature has recently and effectively undertaken efforts to weaken gun laws.
As of January 2017, in Missouri, it is no longer necessary to have a permit to own a gun or to carry a gun concealed on your person. It is not necessary to have a license to possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun. You need no training to obtain a gun. You need no license or permit to purchase a gun. Once you have purchased your gun, do not worry about registering it – no one needs to know you own a gun. You can also carry your concealed weapon, without a license or permit, and if you want to threaten or “warn” someone, you can display your gun “briefly” to let others know you are “carrying.”
I do not want this article to be a “how to” guide for anyone to get a gun, but suffice it to say, there are almost no limitations on the ability to own or possess a gun in Missouri. The lack of need for training or registering guns is particularly distressing, but also concerning is that Missouri has passed the “castle doctrine.” In other words, you can shoot “an invader” in your home or office without retreating or giving the intruder a warning.
Kansas gun laws are virtually identical.
Here’s the thing. Almost everyone who reads this blog agrees that the gun laws of Missouri are awful beyond reason. What each of us must do, therefore, is convince one “reasonable” conservative to at least considering gun laws before casting a vote. We must recognize, even when it seems incomprehensible, that many good people have decent reasons for voting Republican. We must attempt to make them see that the more lenient the gun laws, the more likely Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino and even, Brookside, are to occur.