TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Felix Snipes was a caring, fun guy, according to his mother, Mary Snipes. He was a football superstar throughout high school and college, earning two NJCAA National Football Championships. Later, Felix transitioned into coaching football for Coffeyville Community College. Mary says her son was loved by many.
“He was not a stranger to anyone. Everyone knew him,” said Mary Snipes.
On August 31, 2018, Felix was shot three times in Junction City. Mary says Felix was unarmed and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Felix was airlifted to Topeka and immediately went into surgery. He passed away that same night.
“I screamed,” recalled Mary. “It has had a traumatic impact on our family.”
Now, Mary is fighting for change. She has traveled across Kansas and to Washington D.C. to demand common sense gun laws.
“Universal background checks, red flag laws,” said Mary.
Red flag laws allow police or family members to get a petition from the court to temporarily remove firearms from someone believed to be a risk to themselves or others. Currently, Kansas does not have red flag laws in place and Republican Senator Richard Hilderbrand has introduced legislation to keep it that way.
“The right to due process, the right to face your accuser, when you’re throwing that all out and saying, ‘we’re going to come take it because you’ve been accused’, I think that’s wrong,” explained Senator Hilderbrand.
Hilderbrand says that gun control laws go against a person’s constitutional right. He says taking guns away will not fix the issue of safety.
“If you have someone that is wanting to do bodily harm to somebody, the gun is just an instrument,” said Hilderbrand.
The anti-red flag law has been proposed and Senator Hilderbrand says the bill will likely begin discussions in the legislature. However, Governor Laura Kelly is in favor of red flag laws and would likely veto any bill to the contrary that comes to her desk. Hilderbrand says there would need to be a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate in order to pass.
While it’s unknown if red flag laws would have prevented her son’s death, Mary says she’s fighting for all gun control.
“As a parent, you are a protector. Why should I stop protecting him? Why should me and my husband stop because he’s no longer here on earth,” said Mary. “What keeps me going is I know I’ll see him again.”
Fontelle Jolly was convicted for the death of Felix Snipes. He was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison. Jolly will also need to register as a violent offender for 15 years after his release.