Metro parents worry about the impact of gun violence on their kids

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In a span of just a few hours, seven people were killed during a rash of gun violence on both sides of the state line this past weekend.

"When we drove near there we had to have seen at least 50 cop cars. You can hear gunshots all the time. All during the day, during the night, " said Sara Burnham, who lives near 80th and Wayne in Kansas City where police say a 46-year-old man was shot and killed while sitting in a car Saturday night."

Burnham says when the gunfire breaks out, she, her daughters, ages 8 and 16 and her one month old baby all take cover in the family's dining room.

"We'll be sitting outside and they'll just start shooting and that's when we just hurry up and get inside and as far away from the windows and doors as possible. Luckily, we have a dining room that doesn't have any windows or doors."

"Sadly, I've kind of adapted to it, so you just kind of get used to it, " said 16-year-old Gwen Burnham.

According to the Journal Of Pediatrics, one in four children in the United States is exposed to weapon-related violence as a victim or witness. Researchers estimate one in 33 kids has been assaulted in incidents where guns and knives were used. What's more, experts says children exposed to lethal weapons are "more likely to suffer long term psychiatric consequences."

"The people who are doing all this shooting and killing are robbing our kids of their childhood especially when they're outside. They're not learning the basic necessities of what they should be able to learn as being kids, and, that's a shame," says Kortni Jones, who also lives a few blocks away from the deadly shooting near 80th and Wayne.

At Solace House, a community grief support system in Prairie Village, Program Manager Lisa Farmer says "talking" to kids about the gun violence is key to helping them understand it.

"If your child is old enough to ask a question about violence, about death, about safety then you need to be able to answer them in vocabulary that they can understand, said Lisa Farmer.

"It would nice if the guns stopped all the time. It would be nice to be able to be outside and to not have to fear guns constantly being here, " said Gwen Burnham.

Meantime, Solace House offers "peer groups" for children as well as their parents. For more information just call (913) 341-0318.

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