guns | KCUR


Last year the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state wasn't adequately funding its public schools. What the justices didn’t say was how much more money would be enough. But a new development has potentially changed the debate to the tune of $2 billion dollars. 


Tabetha Sullivan

Students throughout the Kansas City metro enjoyed the support of school administrators and even the mayor when they walked out of schools at 10 a.m. Wednesday to protest gun violence and remember students killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

But the day went much differently for seven girls at William Chrisman High School, who earned five days of suspension after they decided not to adhere to the school-sanctioned walkout.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Students across Kansas joined their peers elsewhere in the country by walking out of school Wednesday and into the national debate over guns.

The mid-morning walkouts took them to the streets, to the Kansas Statehouse and circling around their schools to mark the one-month anniversary of the nation’s latest mass school shooting.

Many of the protests centered on 17 minutes of silence, 60 seconds for each person killed during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Students throughout the Kansas City metro exercised their right to free speech on Wednesday morning, leaving their schools to observe 17 minutes of silence in recognition of those killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week.

Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons

Student activists have taken the lead on conversations about gun control after last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Their calls to action have spurred youth demonstrations across the country, including here in Kansas City. How are teenagers organizing so effectively, and what should parents know about their own kids' interest in social activism? Today, we get answers from family psychologist Wes Crenshaw, and three area high school students.

In the weeks since the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, student activists and others have taken to the streets in an effort to spur policy makers to talk about how we regulate guns. But, is that debate happening here in Kansas?

Jackson County Detention Center.

Editor's note: Updated March 20 after charges were dropped against Landon Mikle — Four Lee's Summit men are in custody, charged with carrying a loaded weapon onto the campus of Lee's Summit High School after classes were dismissed on Wednesday. 

In a probable cause statement filed with the charge sheet, Lee's Summit Police describe a small arsenal found in the men's car, including an AR-15 style rifle, a shotgun, a loaded handgun, several gun magazines, and a box of shotgun shells. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The young survivors of a Florida school shooting last month don’t want thoughts and prayers.

They want gun control.

They’ve organized protests, staged walkouts and demanded policymakers do more to protect them. On Twitter, they’ve called out politicians who oppose restrictions on the assault-style rifle a gunman used to kill 17 of their classmates and teachers.

And their activism has resonated with teens across the country.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City man who gunned down a romantic rival was sentenced to two life sentences Thursday, despite a prosecutor’s plea for a 100-year term that could act as a deterrent to more “senseless killing.”

Dairian Stanley, 22, showed no emotion as Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Charles McKenzie handed down his sentence. Stanley was convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action but was acquitted of kidnapping.


Two big box stores' announcements this week changing policies on gun sales will affect seven Dick's Sporting Goods stores and eight WalMarts in the Kansas City metro.

On Wednesday, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would end all sales of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and raise the age limit to 21 for purchasing guns. Walmart also put similar new restrictions in place.

file phone /

Listening to news reports while driving to the Statehouse on the day after the deadly high school shooting in Florida, Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier decided to redouble her efforts to put a “red flag” law on the books in Kansas.

She wants a system for temporarily confiscating guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others.

Nadya Faulx / Kansas News Service

Wink Hartman, who last week dropped from the Kansas governor’s race and backed Kris Kobach, said he’s offered his arena to the National Rifle Association for its upcoming national convention.

The offer looks to be more gesture than prospective deal. The Hartman Arena in Wichita suburb Park City holds 6,500, about two thirds the capacity of the venue where the NRA convention currently plans to meet in Dallas.

Segment 1: Kansas City's mayor believes students are essential to the debate on guns.

After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., Mayor Sly James invites students to take action against gun violence. He also shares his perspective on why the threat youth face today relates to his experience growing up during the Vietnam War. 

  • Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City

Segment 2, beginning at 29:40: How to find work with purpose.

Ron Waddington/Flickr CC

As the nation watches a burgeoning children’s movement for gun control spring from Florida after last week’s mass killing, the odds of Kansas and Missouri rewriting their rules for firearms this year look slim.

Few parts of the country welcome guns, carried openly or tucked out of sight, as much as Kansas and Missouri.

Segment 1: Is the conversation around guns, schools and violence changing?

Teens in Florida have been galvanized to speak out about mass shootings at American schools. But what is happening here? Have our thoughts shifted about school shootings?

Kansas congressional candidate Tyler Tannahill is sticking with his planned giveaway of rifle similar to the one used in the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

The Leavenworth Marine veteran running for the Republican nomination in the 2nd District announced the contest for an AR-15 rifle on social media the day before the Florida gunman killed at least 17 people.

Screenshot of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle website

Kansas schools that want to offer gun training in the earliest grades would be required to use a program designed by the National Rifle Association, under a bill lawmakers studied on Tuesday.

That legislation would switch programs beyond the eighth grade to hunter education training designed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott made national headlines last fall for wearing a bullet-proof vest in protest of a new state law allowing concealed weapons on campuses. He said he’d wear the vest until the law changed.

And with start of the spring semester this week, Willmott is keeping that promise.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Dannette Ray is standing inside a re-created train depot, wearing cowboy boots, leather chaps and two six-shooters in holsters at her waist. Before she draws her pistols to fire at a row of targets, she calls out: "You get back inside, I'll cover for ya!" — a line spoken by Jimmy Stewart in the 1957 western Night Passage.

Courtesy of Crystal Hays and Shanta Barnett

In late August last year, Shanta Barnett got a call from her 15-year-old daughter Brannae Browne. 

“Momma, did you hear about what happened?”

Natasha Hays, the mom of one of Brannae’s friends, had been killed in a drive-by shooting, she told her mom.

Barnett warned her daughter to be careful.

“She was like, ‘Momma, we didn't do nothing so why we gotta be worried about it?’” Barnett remembers. “Something in my heart told her just to watch out, to be safe.”

Days later, on a Friday after school, Barnett dropped her daughter off at a cousin’s house in Northeast Kansas City, Kansas. About an hour later, Brannae was sitting on the porch when shots rang out from the street. With a bullet to the back, Brannae was soon dead.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

“Let’s hear what you've got,” Nathan Louis Jackson says to Roben Pope, a junior at Central Academy of Excellence in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jackson rests his elbows on the table so he’s at the same level as Pope, one of a dozen students in a special creative writing class here. He’s relaxed and informal.

“Doesn’t matter how much," he says. "Got just a few lines, got an idea? Let’s just hear whatever there is.”

A handgun and six bullets on a desk.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Wikimedia Commons

Drag is big these days in pop culture, but the cross-dressing tradition goes back further than most people realize. Today, we trace its roots on the American frontier. Then, we take a close look with sociologist and researcher Jonathan Metzl at claims that gun violence in America is primarily a mental health issue, and not one related to the easy availability of firearms.

El-Toro / Flickr - CC

For migrants attempting to illegally cross the deserts guarding our border with Mexico, survival is far from a given. Today, we revisit a conversation with anthropologist Lori Baker about how forensic science is helping identify the unfortunate travelers who perish and return their remains to loved ones. Then, guest host Sam Zeff explores how mass shootings affect the likelihood that new gun laws will be passed with Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is joining fellow Republicans in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shootings in calling for a ban on a device used to increase the firing power of semi-automatic rifles.

Yoder, who represents the state’s 3rd District, said in a statement Thursday that he “will support measures to regulate or ban” so-called bump stocks, conversion kits that turn semi-automatic rifles into weapons capable of firing 400 to 800 rounds per minute.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

In 2015, Missouri Statehouse interns came forward to report sexual misconduct. It was a pretty big scandal, leading to resignations, restraining orders and a spotlight on the pervasive culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol. Two years later, what has changed?

Then: Las Vegas. Lawrence. Sandy Hook. Orlando. Mass shootings are part of our news cycle. How do you feel about going out to public events and public spaces?


With Nazi rallies and swastikas showing up close to home in today's headlines, how one high school teacher is answering students' questions about World War II. 

Plus, why KU professor Kevin Willmott is wearing a bulletproof vest to class


Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

When you go to a University of Kansas football game this year, you'll notice some old things and some new things.

The old: KU seems to be heading toward another bad season. The Jayhawks were pounded Saturday by Central Michigan 45-27.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite a drop in murder rates at the national level, homicides in Kansas City are on the rise.

Courtesy the Clark family

Pretty Pennington was killed by a girl fight, a handgun and an AK-47.

She’d been to a friend's wedding that Saturday night, Nov. 12, 2016 — a fun party where she danced all night, picking up her phone only to post pictures to Snapchat. Her mother, Marvella Clark, was sitting at a table and noticed Pennington’s cell phone buzzed constantly.  

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

After four years of planning for concealed carry in Kansas government buildings, you might expect that officials would have the wrinkles ironed out -- that they would have considered all the possibilities. 

But there is still confusion, and it starts at Cedar Crest, the stately governor’s mansion on the west side of Topeka.