Public Safety
8:15 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Gun Forum Calls for Owner Responsibility and Government Involvement

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) has released the results of a study of gun violence in the region and the results are wide ranging and at times a bit confusing.

The League held a forum in October involving 150 participants from different backgrounds, and spent the past months reviewing the findings.

“There wasn’t a big cry for ‘get rid of the guns’ you know and do all that sort of stuff. It was really a desire for more community efforts even coming from the community, not necessarily imposed from above,” said Nancy Naragon Vice President for the LWVGP.

30,000 citizens die from gunshot wounds in the United States annually and 50,000 suffer nonfatal injuries according to the League. Six out of ten gun deaths are suicides.

The focus of the forums was not on the Second Amendment, but rather what can be done to reduce gun violence.

Overall the League found the community did not want the government to impose additional laws, but rather those at the forums said the responsibility should fall on individual gun owners to act more safely. The League did however find the public felt lawmakers and legislators should play a more substantial role.  In fact, they felt that roll was more important than the efforts of law enforcement or nonprofit or community based organizations.

At the same time though, the forum found initiatives that promote rights to own guns and/or rely on individual gun owners to handle their guns safely are least likely to reduce gun-related violence.

The League was surprised by some of the findings, but also saw the value in all opinions.

“They want the police to be out of their cars and be walking in the neighborhoods and being part of the community instead of you know, stuck in their cars... I thought that was interesting insight on their part that that would do more to help the community than to have people just drive around,” said Naragon.

The League released its findings Monday and honored three individuals for their efforts in reducing gun violence: Fred Thieman, Tim Stevens, and Rev. Glenn Grayson.