Sen. Dinah Sykes, Rep. Cindy Holscher gather public input on violence and gun reform

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State lawmakers, community leaders and local residents gathered on Saturday to discuss gun reform.

Compromise was the unofficial word of the day in a brainstorming session on gun violence last weekend.

Led by Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Cindy Holscher, the community forum and brainstorming session Saturday was the state lawmakers’ way to bring the community together to discuss the increasingly polarizing topic of gun violence and its effects on the community, as well as gun reform and ways to prevent and reduce the number of deaths by gun.

Nearly a hundred people had gathered at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park to hear from a panel of speakers on this topic, and nearly all of them stayed for small-group discussions afterward.

And by the end of the morning, nearly every group of residents in the room had brought up the word “compromise” in an effort to bridge the gap between those who support restrictions on guns and those in opposition.

As many speakers pointed out, regardless of which stance, everyone wants to reduce the numbers of suicides and homicides by gun, and also prevent the next mass shooting. Therefore, listening to all perspectives and inviting everyone to take part in discussions will be critical if any solutions will be able to happen.

Sykes and Holscher said they will use insights from the event to inform their efforts in the upcoming legislative session.

Holscher and Sykes opened the forum with a discussion from the following guest panelists:

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor for United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
  • Chief John Douglass, executive director of Shawnee Mission School District Emergency Services and former chief of the Overland Park Police Department
  • Dr. Stepheny Berry, assistant professor of surgery, KU School of Medicine

The panel discussion can be viewed here or below:

The conclusions from each of the small-group discussions can be viewed here or below:

About the author

Leah Wankum
Leah Wankum

Hi there! I’m Leah Wankum, and I’m the Post’s Deputy Editor. I’m thrilled to call Johnson County home, and I’m deeply committed to the Post’s philosophy that an informed community is a strong community.

I’m a native of mid-Missouri, and attended high school in Jefferson City before going on to the University of Central Missouri, where I earned a master’s degree in mass communication.

Prior to joining the Post as a reporter in 2018, I was the editor of the Richmond News in Ray County, Missouri. I’ve also written for several publications, including the Sedalia Democrat and KC Magazine.