A group of moms decided to stage a protest in Kansas City on Thursday to coincide with the 24th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. They spent several weeks planning, not expecting that the recent shooting of teenagerin Kansas City would thrust their community into the national debate on gun violence.
The protest was the first major event organized by “Lives on the Line,” a group Sara Ennis, Anna Simpson, Annie Noll and Eileen Knoblauch formed after thethree weeks ago. They believe if they don’t speak up, they’re part of the problem.
“We don’t have enough White people who are willing to stand up and say: this is not right,” Simpson said.
Knoblauch said she prays every time she drops her children off at school that it’s not the last time she sees them.
“Lives on the Line” stretches across district, state and party lines, demanding an end to gun violence. And many women who attended its protest on Thursday were demonstrating for the first time.
“So many women out here today — this was their first protest,” Noll said. “They’d never done anything like this, and it felt scary and uncomfortable. And we want other moms like us to get uncomfortable about this.”
A recent CBS News poll found thatof parents say their children are worried about gun violence.
Ennis said her 8-year-old daughter recently woke up from a nightmare about guns, reflecting the fear and trauma that gun violence inflicts on children.
With gun control gridlock in Washington, many states are taking matters into their own hands — in both directions. This week, Washington State will become the 10th state to ban assault weapons, while Florida recently signed a bill allowing permitless concealed carry of firearms, becoming the 26th state to do so.
In Tennessee, representatives just passed a law protecting gun manufacturers against lawsuits.
States with the weakest gun laws, such as Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Georgia, Idaho and Mississippi, have gun death rates that are three times higher than states with strong restrictions, such as California, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois.
And as gun sales have spiked, so have gun homicides.
This week, there was another startling act of gun violence. A witness said 6-year-old Kinsley White and her parents were shot by a a neighbor in Gastonia, North Carolina, when some children went to retrieve a basketball that rolled into his yard. Kinsley’s father was still in the hospital Friday morning. Robert Singletary, a 24-year-old, was later arrested and charged with attempted murder.