Kansas 3rd Congressional District candidates on the issues: What steps do we need to take to address gun violence?

Police responding to a shooting in Overland Park in 2015.

The last day to register to vote for November’s elections is Tuesday — and advance voting by mail begins this week.

With Election Day fast approaching, we’ve been working to ensure Shawnee Mission area residents understand where the candidates stand on the issues facing our community.

A few weeks ago, we put out a call to readers for questions they’d like to hear the candidates running for a number of local offices answer. With that input, we developed five-item candidates questionnaires — and all this week we’ll be running their responses.

We’ve asked the three candidates running for the Kansas 3rd Congressional seat for their positions on the issues that matter to our readers’ most. Here’s question number one:

What specific measures should Congress take to reduce gun violence in our communities? What needs to happen to see such steps become reality?

Chris Clemmons, Libertarian

The single biggest action congress could take in regards to violent crime is ending the Drug War. In 2014, 51% of all homicides occurred within 2% of U.S. counties, while 54% of the counties in the U.S. had 0 homicides. Of the counties which had homicides committed within them, only 4% of them had more than 16 murders. Typically, the numbers that run up our homicide statistics come from the inner city, and are a result of criminal activity stemming from the drug war. Our regressive policies on personal liberties have created another black market, just as it did in the times of prohibition, and like those times, society’s most vulnerable bears the majority of the burden.

As such, the most effective measure congress can take in reducing violence on America’s streets, is to end the unconstitutional and immoral drug war. Give non-violent drug offenders the ability to have their drug crimes wiped from the record so that they can rebuild their lives, and become active members of the community, as opposed to our policies today, which encourage a lifetime dependency on the system.”

Sharice Davids, Democrat

I grew up in a military family and was raised with a respect for responsibly owning and handling firearms. We all want our families to be safe and secure. That’s why I am tired of our politicians who do nothing to stop the senseless killings happening in our schools and communities. Our representatives must make a choice: put people first and pass gun safety legislation — or continue being beholden to the gun lobby. My opponent has taken more than $20,000 from the NRA and they’ve spent thousands more propping up his campaign. In return, he opposed stronger background checks for gun purchases and earned their A rating. With politicians like my opponent in office, our safety is being sold to the highest bidder. I will always put the safety of our families first, no matter what the NRA thinks. As your representative, I will never accept a campaign contribution or endorsement from the gun lobby. I will work across the aisle with anyone willing to put our safety ahead of special interests.

Kevin Yoder, Republican

Did not respond.

Tomorrow, we’ll run the candidates’ responses to item two:

Should all Americans be guaranteed the right to have access to affordable health insurance? If so, how should that right be addressed? Should coverage be guaranteed for pre-existing conditions?