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February 15, 2018

'IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS'

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 100 people, including many mothers, rallied Wednesday at the Capitol to denounce three bills that would relax Kentucky's gun restrictions, particularly at public schools and universities. 

Volunteers for the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots movement dedicated to preventing gun violence, said they believe the bills pose a danger to Kentuckians of all ages. 

"We are here to go toe to toe with the gun lobby," said Connie Coartney, who volunteers with the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action, which itself is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, a national organization with more than 4 million supporters. "Why do we show up? Because we know it doesn't have to be like this. We can make a difference."

The bills Moms Demand Action opposes are:

» House Bill 210, which would prohibit Kentucky's publicly funded colleges and universities from restricting someone's ability to possess a gun on campus if that person has a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon;

» House Bill 36, which would let people carry concealed deadly weapons without a license in the same places people who are licensed can carry them;

» and Senate Bill 103, which would allow public school boards (and private schools) to appoint employees as school marshals who would be allowed to store — and, if necessary, use — a gun on campus to protect other people.

"For over 20 years, our elected officials have offered trite condolences," said Hollan Holm, who survived the 1997 shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, not far from Marshall County High School, where two 15-year-olds were killed in another shooting last month.

"We are the moms and dads of this commonwealth," he said, addressing the state's legislators and Gov. Matt Bevin as the crowd applauded. "We need action, and if you continue to ignore our voices then it's time for you to retire — or be retired by us at the ballot box."
University of Louisville law student Ilya Chernyavskiy, who supports HB 210, recently told Courier Journal that licensed gun owners such as himself shouldn't have to choose between their lives and their livelihoods when they leave for class.

"There's no 100 percent measure that'll protect against violence ... but I think that having the option to have some form of self-defense is better than having nothing at all," he said.

And Republican state Sen. Stephen West of Paris, who sponsored SB 103, told Courier Journal his bill — which would require marshals to have concealed carry permits and would limit the number of marshals each school could have — offers educators another tool to improve the safety of their institutions. 

"It gives them another option to enhance their security within the school building and it allows them to not be a soft target," West said.

But Karl Stankovic, a retired law enforcement official, disputed the notion that designated school marshals could deal with a shooting effectively.

During the rally, he pointed out that those incidents don't happen in a controlled environment, such as a gun range. And even police officers, who receive extensive, ongoing firearm training, sometimes make mistakes or have accidents, he said.

Stankovic also criticized HB 36 as a measure that would let people carry loaded guns with zero training.

Anita Franklin, a Kentucky volunteer for Moms Demand Action, spoke Wednesday about losing her son, Antonio Franklin Jr., to gun violence a few years ago when he was shot in the head at a park in Lexington.

She encouraged the people gathered in the Capitol that morning to fight against measures that allow people to bring guns onto school property and to advocate for better regulations.

"There's no way that our kids can learn with guns in schools," she told them. "We can no longer remain quiet about our safety."

Then she got the crowd to join her in reciting the same mantra: "Let's get better, and do it together."

By Morgan Watkins
Louisville Courier Journal

 

Comments  

+2 #6 Get right 2018-02-18 16:22
Quoting Jim Bob:
Quoting Leroy:
We don't blame the car when a drunk driver kills someone because it's not the fault of the car at all.


Let's go over this again. Cars are designed to transport you from Point A to Point B. Guns are designed to kill things. Try and keep up.


Let’s go over it again quit blaming a gun, blame the person, blame the FBI for doing absolutely nothing. Guard schools like we guard courthouses and this will never happen. Simple.
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-5 #5 Jim Bob 2018-02-18 13:13
Quoting Leroy:
We don't blame the car when a drunk driver kills someone because it's not the fault of the car at all.


Let's go over this again. Cars are designed to transport you from Point A to Point B. Guns are designed to kill things. Try and keep up.
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+4 #4 Leroy 2018-02-17 16:18
We don't blame the car when a drunk driver kills someone because it's not the fault of the car at all.
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+3 #3 Just say no 2018-02-16 13:33
The more "gun safety laws" that are passed, the less safe we will be. Criminals don't obey laws, period. These shootings occur in gun free zones.
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+4 #2 Citizen 2018-02-16 01:12
Mental Illness is the problem not Guns.
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0 #1 Simple 2018-02-15 18:13
It’s simple, guard our kids like we guard our courthouses, banks, malls, important or rich people, etc. We act or think as though this can’t be stopped. In each of these school shootings, if we had armed guards and/or personnel these types of shootings would be minimal. Has anyone ever heard of a courthouse being attacked? No because the nut jobs know that people are armed. SIMPLE
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