Gun deaths have increased in many areas of the country.
14 years ago, Kansas averaged nine deaths by guns per 100 thousand people which was 18th lowest in the nation. In 2017, that jumped to 16 deaths, and the state has fallen to number 34.
That’s led many people to look for a solution.
“There’s always going to be some violence, but if we can prevent anything, any one shot, just that one shot, it would prevent someone from getting killed,” said Pastor Carl Frazier.
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.
“We want to be a resource for these individuals that allows hope, that not only allows hope, but give them love, say hey, it’s another opportunity that you can get your life together again,” said Frazier.
But other groups fighting against gun violence advocate for tighter restrictions on guns, and gun rights advocates in the state say those typically go too far.
“People talk about the issue of gun violence, I think that’s the wrong way to characterize this, it’s really an issue of violence in general,” said Moriah Day, Director-at-large for the Kansas Rifle Association.
“We need to allow people to have the ability to defend themselves against whatever kind of violence,” he said.
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 18-year-olds to conceal and carry with a permit in the state that stalled in the legislature earlier this year.
June 7 was National Gun Violence Awareness Day.