Gun violence continues to be a major issue not only across the United States, but also here in Pennsylvania.
We spoke with an official from Cease Fire PA during ‘Gun Violence Prevention Month’ who says data shows gun violence continues to get worse every year and work needs to be done to put an end to it.
“Gun violence prevention month is designed to shine a light on this crisis,” said Josh Fleitman, the Campaign Director with Cease Fire PA.
Fleitman says Cease Fire PA is the Commonwealth’s Gun Violence Prevention Organization.
“Gun violence touches and destroys so many lives across the state and this country, In Pennsylvania last year 1,900 people have died from gun violence. That’s the highest number ever recorded according to CDC data.”
Fleitman mentioned data shows – mass shootings make up only one percent of the shootings in PA, black Pennsylvania’s are 21 times more likely to be murdered by a gun, access to a firearm increases the risk of suicide and the list goes on.
“Pennsylvania and this country, you know we have really unfettered access to firearms and that really is the fundamental route of this problem. You know, you hear people talk about mental health or video games or things like that, Those are really just fundamental distractions from what the evidence shows us which is clear you know every other advanced industrialized country on the planet they have people with mental health crisis, they have people who play violent video games, but they do not have out of control violence like we do.”
Fleitman says he believes there needs to be policies put in place to prevent more gun violence from happening.
“So, it’s the safe firearm storage that would require the gun be stored safely in a home, its extreme risk protection orders often called red flag laws to temporarily restrict someone’s access to gun when a court has shown they are a threat to themselves or other people, Its universal background checks to make sure guns can’t get in the wrong hands and it requiring the reporting of the lost and stolen firearms to help clamp down on the flow of illegal guns that are fueling a lot of the community based violence we see in Johnstown and here in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Erie, communities across the state. We cannot truly be free as the people until we are free from the ever-present fear of gun violence.”