Kansas City murder sparks gun control debate

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by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

kvue.com

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 11:40 PM

AUSTIN -- On a night devoted to football, it was the on air audible from veteran commentator Bob Costas that overshadowed the game.

"If Javon Belcher didn't possess a gun," said Costas in a mid-game break. "He and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

The words from Costas, quoted another sportswriters' strong stance on gun control.

Jason Whitlock closed his Saturday column saying, "Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it."

The commentary was prompted by the murder of 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher who later killed himself.

"It was just an ignorant statement," said gun rights advocate Steve Hall, current executive director of the Texas State Rifle Association. 

Hall maintains it's the intent, not the tool, that's the problem.

"It's domestic violence," said Hall. "The focus should be on domestic violence and not the inanimate object that was used."

Hall points to the 90 million other U.S. gun owners who use them responsibly and for protection.

"If she had a firearm in her hand she [Perkins] could have prevented a fatality," said Hall.

At Safeplace in Austin, executive director Julia Spann said the domestic violence center puts clients at high-risk if any gun is present in the home.

"We sometimes forget how incredibly lethal and final domestic violence can be," said Spann, who said last year guns were involved in 66 of 102 domestic violence deaths in Texas.

"So often we think these are issues of the home and they're private and nobody can intervene, but the truth is we should all be intervening for each other's safety," Spann said.

If you're dealing with domestic violence, or know someone who is, you can call 1-800-799-SAFE.  The number for the national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.
 

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