Last week, two minors were fatally shot in separate incidents in Kansas. On Thursday night, Emmanuel I. Torres, a 16-year-old boy, was shot and killed in Topeka. This is at least the second incident of a minor being fatally shot in Kansas this week. On Wednesday, Brian Henderson Jr., a 12-year-old boy, was shot and killed in Leavenworth.
These shootings come as Governor Kelly is considering signing HB 2058 into law, a bill that would allow 18-, 19-, 20- year olds to obtain permits to carry concealed handguns in public, including carrying inside school grounds and on college campuses and would make it harder to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals.
Last Thursday, the same night Emmanuel Torres was killed, a 19-year-old killed eight people at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis. 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults 21 and older.
“Every child deserves to live a long, fulfilling life — but that chance has been cut short by gun violence for two of Kansas’ children this past week,” said Mary Snipes, Everytown Survivor Fellow and Moms Demand Action volunteer Leader in Kansas chapter. “Our state is in a gun violence crisis, and we desperately need our leaders to take action and prevent more loss. If these two lives being cut short doesn’t prove to our lawmakers that we need stronger — not weaker — gun laws, I’m not sure what will.”
“Kids and teens should be able to live without fear of being shot, and we should be able to trust that our adult lawmakers will protect us,” said Sophia Steffensmeier, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Kansas. “Over and over they have failed though, and we have had to watch people who could have been our classmates get fatally shot. This is a crisis, and we need action now to prevent these senseless and tragic killings.”
What to know about HB 2058, which would allow Kansas teenagers to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public.
- Under current Kansas law, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds cannot legally carry hidden, loaded handguns in public. But HB 2058 would allow teenagers to obtain permits to carry concealed handguns throughout the state.
- 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults 21 and older.
- This bill would allow teenagers to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public, undermining the common sense laws that keep Kansas communities safe when people carry concealed firearms in public.
The bill would also automatically allow people with permits from other states to carry concealed handguns in Kansas.
Gun violence prevention is more important than ever as gun violence continues in Kansas following a year of increased gun sales, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.