Your opinion: May 2, 2018

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Advocating against gun violence
With the recent violent gun deaths and injuries in Americus, I recognize that gun violence is a public health issue that needs to be addressed. The gun violence enhances fear in the citizens in our area. There are many people that we know that have lost someone to senseless gun violence and it is time for a change. We cannot continue to let these negative gun violence statistics increase.
We all have the power to advocate. We should talk about it with the law makers, our city officials, and the citizens of Americus. We should get with the victims and see their point of view in hopes that the next time someone decides to pick up a gun, they think about the negative effect it has on their family. Such as primary and in some cases secondary loss, individuals having to solicit money to bury their loved ones, a child not being raised by the parent but now the grandparent, these are some of the issues we should look at with the increase of gun violence.
Citizens of Americus, here is what you can do. If you have been a victim or your loved one was a victim, you can speak on their behalf. Citizens of Americus, you can attend council meetings and discuss the fear you experience or how you have been hurt by gun violence. City officials, you can host a town hall meeting to get feedback from the citizens of how we can change this. Educators, we can teach our kids about empathy, loving each other, and the healthy ways of handling conflict to decrease the gun violence. Parents, keep an eye on your kids, check their rooms, their friends and their social media page to ensure they aren’t carrying guns or promoting gun violence. Law enforcement, please do more community policing and education on gun safety and gun laws. To everyone, if you notice any unsafe activities with guns or any crime, please report it to the local law enforcement.
When I researched the issue, I found that African Americans males are more likely to be killed by gun violence than any other race. If we look at our town and the recent murders, the majority has been African American males. Also, when conducting my research, I reviewed the gun policy and found that before a person can obtain a gun license they would have to undergo a background check that should reveal if the individual has a criminal history, domestic violence history, mental health history and substance abuse history. What I couldn’t find is how guns are landing in the hands of those that are not able to obtain a gun license.
Today is the day for a change! Let us start now, reach out to someone you know that has been a victim and encourage them and let us start with moving forward to preventing gun violence.
LaToya Ross