Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2018

Roberts, Jenkins predict congressional action on guns in wake of mass shooting at Florida high school

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts say it is likely that Congress will soon take up gun legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts say it is likely that Congress will soon take up gun legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead.

February 22, 2018

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— U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and 2nd District Rep. Lynn Jenkins, both Republicans, said Thursday that they expect Congress to take up some kind of gun control legislation, possibly within the next week.

The renewed push for gun control has gained momentum in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14 that left 17 students and staff dead and 14 more people injured.

"I think this is one of those things where we have endured so much, and then this one was so obvious that it could have been prevented that there’s a feeling in Congress, look, let’s get this done," Roberts told reporters during a stop in Topeka.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts say it is likely that Congress will soon take up gun legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts say it is likely that Congress will soon take up gun legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead.

"I think there's going to be a vigorous debate when we get back next week over how we move forward," Jenkins said. "This is becoming all too common. I think our constituents are demanding some kind of solution."

Roberts and Jenkins were both in Topeka to tour the new DaVita Wanamaker Dialysis Center, a facility that provides outpatient dialysis treatment for people with kidney failure. Both helped push through recent legislation that helps speed up the process of inspecting new facilities so they can be certified to bill Medicare.

Their visit came just a little more than a week after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The accused gunman in that massacre, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, reportedly used an AR-15 assault-style rifle with large-capacity magazines, all items he was able to buy legally under Florida law.

"If people want that, then they’re going to have to be older, obviously," Roberts said of that type of gun. "They’re going to have to have training, if that’s the case. Hunters don’t use that. Or, if they do, they shouldn’t."

Roberts also said he supports a ban on so-called "bump stocks" that enable a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 to operate like a fully automatic weapon.

That type of device was used in another mass shooting Oct. 1 in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.

Jenkins, however, was less specific about the types of gun control measures she would support.

"I'm sure there are," she said. "We're in the process of kind of going through a list and touching base with our constituents, the people I work for, to see what they support. Kansas is big on the Second Amendment, but yet I think there's not a Kansan that's not sympathetic to the crisis we keep seeing occur almost every month."

For the past several years, Congress has been reluctant to take up any kind of gun control measure, due largely to heavy lobbying from the National Rifle Association. But Roberts said he thinks that will change in light of the Florida shooting.

"I think the NRA is going to be a little flexible on this. I really do," he said. "I think it would be in their best interest."

Legislative action

The issue of gun violence in schools also arose in the Kansas Legislature Thursday, where Republican leaders in the Kansas House called off debate on a bill that would have authorized public schools to provide firearm safety education programs.

More specifically, it would have directed the Kansas State Board of Education to establish curriculum guidelines based on programs currently offered by the National Rifle Association and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said the decision to pull the bill off the debate calendar was not related to emotions surrounding the recent Florida massacre.

"There are more comprehensive discussions going on about how to keep our kids safe," he said in an interview. "We want it to be part of a bigger solution. Obviously we're supportive of training for our kids and (having) them more comfortable around guns, or to know what to do when they find one. We're going to be looking at a larger, more comprehensive look at how we keep our kids safe."

House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, however, said in a separate interview that the timing of the discussion made some House members uncomfortable.

"I think it showed a lack of understanding of the volatility of this issue," he said. "The world changed last week, and I think the NRA is much slower to catch up with the rest of the world."

Because that bill originated from the Federal and State Affairs Committee, it is exempt from Thursday's "turnaround" deadline for most bills to pass out of their chambers of origin. That committee can introduce new bills at any time during the session, and those bills can be debated and voted on by the House at any time.

Ryckman said the gun safety education bill will return in another form later in the session.

Comments

Calvin Anders 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I'm not optimistic that anything substantive will come of this. I think Congress will "compromise" and declare a significant victory in outlawing the sale of bump stocks and perhaps a tiny change in background check requirements and call it a day. They will not do anything that actually helps here. And I think mass shootings will continue. We need to raise our voices to our Congressional reps both before and after their little cosmetic legislation and tell them that NRA money is not going to save their seats this time. If they don't act decisively to protect our country from this constant churn of mass murder, they will be voted out. Let's not be manipulated in to complacency.

Terry Schmidt 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Rep. Lynn Jenkins: On Feb 16, I received a response to my letter from you (or your assistant) about the Parkland slaughter. Your letter of response said: "Yet, I am convinced we are not doing enough to abate these horrific events." Then, my response is DO SOMETHING!!! You have less than one year left in office. You can be more proactive to control the access and use of weapons of war in our schools and communities. I have long given up on your colleague, Sen. Roberts, as he bides his time until retirement. You said: "I think our constituents are demanding some kind of solution." Does it take 17 deaths to come to this realization? The Second District is watching.

Doug Larson 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Here are all the House bills that have been sent to the House. Why haven't you acted on them? https://www.congress.gov/search?q=%7B"congress"%3A"115"%2C"source"%3A"legislation"%2C"search"%3A"Gun"%7D&searchResultViewType=expanded

Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"...Gun control advocates seem frustrated that this country is not and cannot ever be Luxembourg. But the sooner they accept that reality, the closer everyone will be to starting a productive conversation about how to prevent the next Parkland. This conversation ought to begin with the question of why the nation's existing background check system and law enforcement agencies are so woefully ineffective in preventing known threats, like that from the Parkland shooter, whose irregular and threatening behavior was no secret, from becoming school shooters. Why is the government so bad at keeping guns out of the hands not only of people who arguably shouldn't have them, but even of people who by law are already not allowed to have them? The Charleston church shooter was a felon who should not have been permitted to buy his gun, but for an FBI error during the background check process. The Parkland shooter, like the Pulse Nightclub terrorist and the Boston Marathon bombers before him, had been flagged for FBI attention long before his crimes. In each case, the bureau shrugged..." http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gun-control-is-a-fantasy-start-a-realistic-conversation-about-preventing-school-massacres/article/2649582

Terry Sexton 1 month, 4 weeks ago

No, the convo ought to begin with why civilians think they need to have weapons such as AR-15's. Great hunting weapon you say? If you can't shoot a flippin' deer without the use of a semi-automatic weapon maybe you should just shop at Aldi's for your protein.

Selfish needs and the rights to possess such weaponry take a back seat to the rights of LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Compromise is in order. There are enough bang-bang toys out there that firearms enthusiasts can do without some of them in order to pursue the greater good.

Mike Riner 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Terry, very few probably use an AR-15 to hunt deer, although they could. Perhaps you don't realize that the 2nd amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting!!

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

So the Second Amendment was passed in 1791, at a time when guns were muzzle loaded, with no percussion caps. Repeating firearms had not developed, nor revolvers, nor shotguns or semi automatic or automatic firearms.

So one 19 year old with an AR-15 could have singlehandedly taken out a Well Regulated Militia as it was defined when the Second Amendment was passed. So tell me, exactly how does the AR-15 and the many guns like it fit into the Second Amendment?

I'm not saying that in today's world what we should do with AR-15s, but don't bring up the Second Amendment when talking about how it is protected. I could make a very strong case that if State Legislatures which passed the Second Amendment knew what was going on today, they would have absolutely no problem putting in place safeguards in the form of effective, functional background checks, Red flag measures to temporarily take away guns from those who are at high risk of hurting themselves or others, mandatory gun safety courses, banning of technologies that turn legal firearms into illegal firearms, and adequate funding to enforce all of these measures and other measures which are not being utilized because the resources aren't there to enforce them.

I think these are the kinds of measures that survivors of mass shootings are unanimously wanting, and I predict those legislators who stonewall this time will be pushed aside and replaced by those who are willing to show the necessary independence and leadership.

Mike Riner 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ken you may very well be right. Had the framers of the constitution known what the world would be like now, I am sure several things may have been written differently. But they didn't know, and didn't write it differently. "The right to keep and bear arms,,," does not say "as long as they are muzzleloaders". They had know way to know how or even if, firearms would evolve. Bottom line as far as weaponry goes, I keep a weapon to protect my family and myself. Not for hunting. Someone told me once I should get a lever action Winchester. (originally a military repeating rifle). Bolt action rifles are popular with hunters. (originally a military repeating rifle). And now the AR-15, looks similar to an M-16 (a military semiautomatic rifle). Even if you could magically make all AR-15 disappear, what's next? Focus on making it impossible for those with mental health issues to get ANY weapon. Perhaps make the minimum age for an AR purchase 25 or more.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You re correct: the technologies that replaced muzzle loaders with far more powerful and dangerous-in-the-wrong-hands were not known to those folks. But WE know that they exist, so it is OUR responsibility to adapt to the presence of those new technologies with the common sense safeguards I described, which make it less likely that mass shootings, suicides, and accidental shootings will happen. None of these issues were meant to be off limits by those who passed the Second Amendment and they are counting on us to be able to make that distinction.

Beverly Stauffer Thrower 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Let's also not forget that the Founders put in place mechanisms for changing the Constitution as times changed. The 2nd Amendment was not part of the original Constitution. (Hence, it's name - AMENDment.) They knew things would change and they made it possible, though not easy, to change them. I'm not saying we should repeal it, but I don't think the Framers would have any problem with making changes to preserve that first inalienable right - LIFE.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Agreed. Since changing the constitution through the amendment process in these times of widespread political dysfunction does not seem to be a practical path to focus on, legislative and executive measures, if they hold up to judicial scrutiny are probably the more pragmatic route. This route might actually re-invigorate the public into taking back control of their legislative representatives who are now pretty much at the beck and call of corporate interests.

Dale Miller 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Have one shooting at a school with the folks back in 1791 running the show and that bastard wouldn't be alive long. He certainly wouldn't have to worry about committing suicide.

Threats of their 2nd Amendment rights wouldn't go well either.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"Threats of their 2nd Amendment rights wouldn't go well either."

If they were threats, yes. These are not threats though. Taking measures to reduce the probability of accidental shootings, suicides, criminal acquisition of firearms and mass shootings by the mentally ill would not have bothered them in the least.

Monty Scott 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Why do people buy SUV's. Do they live on a farm or ranch? Some do but most don't. So, why do you have to have a need to own an AR-15. Most certainly don't need an SUV. Far more people a killed with automobiles, where is the SUV control? An AR-15 is no different than any other semi-automatic rifle. Oh, by the way, all guns can kill but so can home depot trucks, U Hauls and delivery vans.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Cars are not made to kill. Guns are. And cars are highly regulated. Just cause an accident while texting or while drunk. You will be in deep trouble. Guns are made to kill, nothing more.

Dale Miller 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Good thing cars are not made to kill... Just think what they would do if they were. Until I see you actually make a lifestyle change with your car, I'll keep ahold of my Constitutional rights.

Mike Riner 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Dorothy.....as I've said before, I have a firearm to protect my family and myself. That's the whole reason. And if I find a particular type of firearm that makes it easier to have "effective and accurate" protection of my family than another type, guess which type I'll choose. Not hard to figure out. But I won't use a tool for evil purposes. Try to treat the mindset of using the tool for evil purposes and stop blaming the damned TOOL for a change. Any firearm can kill in the right hands. But your mind is made up, and I know full well why. So I won't argue the point with you any further.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 4 weeks ago

There are tools and then there are tools that appropriate to the situation. You don't need a telephone pole to swat a flea. An AR-15 is like a telephone pole. The handgun you probably possess to protect your family is the appropriate tool. Military style weapons are designed for only one purpose - mass killing, like as in the middle of a war.

Terry Sexton 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I understand 2A, Mike. It was just an example, but if weapons such as AR-15's aren't that popular or necessary for civilian activities like hunting, why do we need them? Just because some feel the abstract right to own any kind of weaponry is more important than common sense protections? Nobody wants to disarm the populace, but there are no rational justifications for permitting unfettered access to certain kinds of weaponry.

Dale Miller 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ever considered addressing mental health, hardening the school perimeter, etc? I've already seen the last bright ideas dealing with NO GUN signs around schools. They have proven ineffective and still can't get rid of them.

Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

AR-15 came in different calibers. Several are appropriate for whitetail deer.

Bob Summers 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Murders in government inculcation centers started when the Liberal people took the 10 commandments off of hallway walls.

Thou shall not kill is a powerful commandment seen everyday in the hall.

But, the people under the influence of the Liberal gene, are waaay too emotionally upset at the origin of the commandment to worry about the message of the commandment for the children.

Liberals need safe space.

Calvin Anders 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You know what, Monty, if SUV's were designed by manufacturers to inflict maximum casualties and there were accessories legally available to modify them to kill far more people in a shorter period of time, and if deranged people were driving them through schools to kill as many children as possible, I think I would be on board with SUV control. But it's not the case. It's assault rifles that are designed to kill people. Let's stop this ridiculous posturing and just admit that the US is essentially the only industrialized country in collective denial about the stupidity of arming it's citizens to the teeth. We can learn from other countries. We don't have to lose so many people for such idiotic reasons. It's not rocket science. Or we can throw around poorly reasoned false analogies.

Monty Scott 1 month, 4 weeks ago

First, there is no such thing as an assault rifle. I am just trying to point out the false logic that banning firearms is going to anything but make you feel good. The one common denominator to all of these mass shooting, mental health. Fix the problem at hand instead stead passing out trophies and high fiving each other. Oh, bless your heart, you didn’t realize the SUV statement was humor. Humor is hard for some to understand.

How many died last year in France, 96 with a truck I think.

Brad Avery 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"The one common denominator to all of these mass shooting, mental health." Presuming your statement to be true, why did Herr Trump make it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns?
"Almost exactly a year ago, Trump signed a law to revoke an Obama-era gun regulation that made it more difficult for those with mental illnesses to acquire guns. Media was not allowed to attend the bill-signing event." https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/02/trump-who-made-it-easier-for-mentally-ill-people-to-buy-guns-blames-mental-health-issues-for-florida-shooting/

Monty Scott 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Maybe you should read what was signed instead of the headlines. Here, I will make it easy for you, here is the link. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/02/house-republicans-move-to-scrap-obama-rule-on-gun-background-checks.html

Calvin Anders 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Right Monty, and there's no such thing as an SUV. There are trucks and 4 wheel drive sport vehicles, but the SUV is a fiction created by the liberal media. Your NRA talking points are tired. And your "humor" isn't funny. And the truck you point out doesn't really qualify in your analogy because the truck was a commercial vehicle and not a frivolous vanity purchase. People see through the little word games pro gun nuts are trying desperately to play. And they are tired of the games.

Dale Miller 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Now Calvin, dead is dead whether by accident or intentional. Get your rear out of that vehicle so you can get rid of it. I'll take you to the nearest clinic so you can protest those intentional 137,000 annual abortions currently taking place!

Brad Avery 1 month, 4 weeks ago

"U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and 2nd District Rep. Lynn Jenkins, both Republicans, said Thursday that they expect Congress to take up some kind of gun control legislation, possibly within the next week." Probably the same action they took after Sandy Hook. Thoughts and prayers and nothing else.

Charles Jones 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Brilliant letter from Sly James about gun violence.

http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article201165429.html

And while I'm at. What a venomous, snarly thug is Wayne LaPierre. I honestly cannot understand why any person of good conscience chooses to affiliate with the NRA.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 4 weeks ago

What a great essay. His telling the youth that this is their Vietnam is really true: adults are not preventing their slaughter and it will be up to them to stop it. Kirsten Gillebrand tells us the exact same thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWOxj...

And she's in a position to know. I also find her refusal to accept any corporate donations to be refreshing and hopefully a way to make an end run around the horrendous excesses that Citizens United has allowed with the green light for Dark Money in our campaigns. I hope her efforts spread far and wide.

Charles Jones 1 month, 4 weeks ago

And where is the follow-up on the Lawrence 1 year old who died of a gunshot wound. We need to understand the situation. Because, sadly, every jackwagon who can lay his hands on a gun is quite sure he knows how to handle it properly. 100% 2nd Amendment, you bet!

Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The stereotyping is string with this one.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Conservatives will say anything to shut challengers up. This loud noise must continue 24/7 until military weapons are taken off the street, melted down then come back as picnic tables.

Any kind of conservative legislation will have monster loopholes ..... as always.

Those two legislators cannot be trusted and have had years to get these weapons off the retail market. Blood is on them!!!

No we don't need to arm teachers as Trump the Rump is suggesting.

Bob Smith 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Pst, Richard there aren't military weapons on the streets. The rest of your post is also rubbish.

Mike Riner 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"Conservatives will say anything to shut challengers up" methinks you might want to gaze into a mirror from time to time Richard. Both sides to the exact same thing.

Clara Westphal 1 month, 4 weeks ago

On a KC television station, there was a segment about a company that has developed a bullet proof chalk board on wheels that can be quickly moved to a school room door to be used as a shield. It looks just like a chalk board but is much larger. Maybe 6" tall to near floor level. It could be used for people to stand behind for protection. I thought it would be a good start at protecting students and faculty until something better comes along.

Kathy Roberts 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Senator Roberts has taken $1.5 million from the NRA in direct and indirect donations to his campaigns. He is the 3rd biggest recipient currently serving in the Senate. His thoughts are obviously about his survival as a politician and his prayers are that we won't realize his vote has been bought by the organization that imperils our children.

Clara Westphal 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Roberts is retiring at the end of his term. He has been a bane on the people of Kansas.

Tom Weiss 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Senator Roberts said "I think the NRA is going to be a little flexible on this. I really do," he said. Why the hell is Roberts paying more attention to what the NRA thinks than what his constituents think. The majority of Americans are in favor of sensible gun control; the NRA isn't. So who does Roberts -- and most other Republicans -- represent?

Monty Scott 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Money is the mother's milk of politics. Always go after the money, that's what they say. NRA had nothing to do with what happen in Florida. Blame the FBI, Local Law enforcement and the others who failed to react to this wack job. Gun control will not stop this form happening again. If you think it will, you need to stop fooling yourself. If you want the solution, here it is.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/why-school-shootings-are-so-rare-in-israel-where-guns-are-such-a-common-sight/2018/02/22/1fce546a-17e3-11e8-930c-45838ad0d77a_story.html?utm_term=.675d61f51296

Tom Weiss 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the link to that story. But perhaps you misread it. The main point is that there are lots of guns because there is a heavy military and police presence. But for the rest of the population, Israel has very strict gun controls. Here is a quote from the article. "Israeli security experts also say that gun violence is rare in Israel because privately held guns are so rare. According to data from Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security, which registers all gun owners, about 260,000 Israelis, or about 3.5 percent of the population, have permits to carry firearms. Half of the permit holders are private citizens, and the others work for security firms."
So it looks like it is about time gun enthusiasts should stop fooling themselves.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The GOP which is controlled by very radical right wing money aka ALEC will do nothing about deregulated gun sales. Nothing will change.

This is why the loud voices for replacing all laws with a few new regulations need to stay active and loud. The politicans will say anything to shut americans up and in reality are only waiting for this sitaution to run out of steam.

The news media must stay on top of this matter. Assault weapons must be taken off the retail market, the black market and not allowed in gun shows.

Military and law enforcement weapons when retired MUST be melted down and perhaps brought back as picinic tables.

Arming teachers is shallow thinking. Security officers are acceptable HOWEVER they cannot stop an action if they don't when a shooting is going to take place or where it will take place.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

How are you defining assault weapons, Richard? Do you have a list of scary features similar to the list used in the scary weapons ban that Clinton signed?

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