TOPEKA (KSNT) – Republicans and Democrats could clash over the latest provision that will move to the Senate floor on Thursday.
Lawmakers are considering a bill to establish firearm safety training in Kansas school districts.
This comes as gun violence activists and some Democrats are pushing for safe storage laws in Kansas.
Activists called on lawmakers to take action at a Moms Demand Action rally at the Kansas Statehouse this week. The group cited the growing gun violence statistics of Everytown, a nonprofit that advocates for gun safety, and the CDC.
“In 2020, there were 165 more gun deaths than in 2011,” said Mary Snipes of Topeka.
Snipes recounted how his son tragically lost his life to gun violence, trying to hold back tears, as he played a recording of his voice for the audience.
“His manner… ‘yes sir’… and that has brought me so much joy, so if you see me with tears, that’s okay,” she said.
Snipes joined other members of Moms Demand Action in pushing to strengthen “weak” gun laws in Kansas. This year, the group is advocating for safe storage laws.
A bill in the House and Senate would require gun owners to place their firearms in a locked safety deposit box to prevent access by minors.
“It’s time to put the guns away and keep the kids safe,” said Assemblywoman Linda Featherston, a Democrat of Overland Park. “These are the methods that work and these are the methods we need to support.”
The groups are also calling on lawmakers to oppose bills that some Republicans are supporting as a way to improve gun safety.
The bill the Senate will consider on Thursday would require the state Board of Education to establish guidelines for a standardized firearm safety training program for K-12 schools. For kindergarten and grades one through five, the curriculum would build on the National Rifle Association’s “Eddie the Eagle” program, which teaches children to “stop” and tell an adult when they encounter a gun.
“It puts the burden on children to know what to do when they are around unsafe firearms, instead of placing the responsibility on adults to keep their guns safe and secure,” said Katy Tyndell, group leader of Wichita for Moms Demand Action.
Tyndell is urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.
However, supporters of the legislation say it doesn’t “put the burden on children”.
“It is incumbent on parents, on all Kansas adults, and on legislators as well, to ensure that our children are provided with all the best education and awareness…” said Patrick Penn, a Wichita Republican, who introduced legislation by the House in the past.
.”..Stop, drop and roll, or even like with the DARE we had with drug awareness… So, I think these are simple steps: stop, run, tell an adult…. in which any child can lock themselves away,” she continued.
The gun storage bills are still in committee, while the gun safety training bill is expected to be debated on Thursday afternoon. The Kansas Senate will meet at 2:30 pm.