Fact Check

Did Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce Call for 'More Strict Gun Laws'?

"We can't have that in our communities, especially when a child's future is taken away," he's quoted as saying.

Published Feb. 15, 2024

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Claim:
Travis Kelce stated: "There needs to be more strict gun laws, especially when toddlers are dying. We can't have that in our communities, especially when a child's future is taken away."
Context

Although social media posts containing the quote went viral in the aftermath of a Feb. 14, 2024, mass shooting in Kansas City, Kelce made the statement in 2015.

On Feb. 14, 2024, several posts on X (formerly Twitter) went viral that claimed that Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said, "There needs to be more strict gun laws, especially when toddlers are dying. We can't have that in our communities, especially when a child's future is taken away."

The posts were made shortly after a mass shooting at a Super Bowl victory parade for the Chiefs. One account that shared the quote was the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit organization that supports gun control:

Kelce did make the statement, so we rate this claim as "Correct Attribution." But the statement came years before the February 2024 shooting.

We traced the quote to a story published Oct. 8, 2015, by The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio, near Kelce's hometown (archived here):

Now Kelce hopes Cleveland can get to a place where the streets and communities are safer. Recent incidents of gun violence, which have led to several shootings and deaths to children, hurts Kelce to his core.

"The [gun violence] rips my heart out," Kelce said. "I have to side with LeBron (James) on this one. There needs to be more strict gun laws, especially when toddlers are dying. We can't have that in our communities, especially when a child's future is taken away."

Although Kelce's statement about "more strict gun laws" came before the Super Bowl victory parade shooting — which resulted in one death and more than 20 injuries — he did post the following message about the Feb. 14 shooting: "I am heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today. My heart is with all who came out to celebrate with us and have been affected. KC, you mean the world to me."

Sources

Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas, et al. 'Shooting at Kansas City Super Bowl Rally Probably Stemmed From Argument, Police Say'. The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/us/kansas-city-super-bowl-shooting.html.

Branson Wright, The Plain Dealer. 'Chiefs TE Kelce Remains Dedicated to Hometown Cleveland'. Cleveland, 8 Oct. 2015, https://www.cleveland.com/ohio-sports-blog/2015/10/kansas_city_chiefs_te_travis_k.html.

'Https://Twitter.Com/Bradybuzz/Status/1757938683573911859'. X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/bradybuzz/status/1757938683573911859. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

Taija PerryCook is a Seattle-based journalist who previously worked for the PNW news site Crosscut and the Jordan Times in Amman.