WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Gun deaths have increased in many areas of the country.
Fourteen years ago, Kansas averaged nine gun deaths per 100,000 people, which was 18th lowest in the nation. In 2017, that jumped to 16 deaths, and the state has fallen to number 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
That’s led many people to look for a solution.
Pastor Paul Frazier is the vice-chair for the Topeka Center for Peace & Justice. The group tries to help people before they resort to using a gun.
“There’s always going to be some violence,” Frazier said, “but if we can prevent anything, any one shot — just that one shot — it would prevent someone from getting killed.”
Other groups fighting against gun violence advocate for tighter restrictions on guns, but gun rights advocates in the state say those go too far.
Moriah Day, director for the Kansas Rifle Association, is one of those advocates.
“People talk about the issue of gun violence,” Day said, “but I think that’s the wrong way to characterize this. It’s really an issue of violence in general. We need to allow people to have the ability to defend themselves against whatever kind of violence.”
Day said the Kansas Rifle Association promotes training and wants safe gun owners in the state.
“There are still a lot of things that we can do to make sure Kansas gun owners have training, they have the ability to carry a firearm, and know how to use it effectively,” said Day.
Day said KSRA supports a bill that would allow adults 18 or over to conceal and carry with a permit in the state that stalled in the legislature earlier this year.
National Gun Violence Awareness Day was June 7.