We’re learning more about the mass shooting in Indiana County that killed one person and injured many others early Sunday Morning.
As the community is still reeling with the after-shocks of the tragic event,
Gun violence is once again at the forefront of the discussion
With people asking, how can we stop mass shootings, like the one on Sunday, from happening?
The Observer Reporter is reporting that three of the eight people injured in the shooting are Waynesburg University students.
The shooting happened at a party at the Chevy Chase Community Center less than two miles away from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The person killed has been identified as Jamar Monte Porterfield Herriot Junior of Homestead.
IUP officials confirmed that he was not a student nor alumni at the University.
Investigators say multiple gunmen were involved and no arrests have been made in the case.
According to the CDC, 1,600 Pennsylvanians die from gun violence every year and 3,000 more are injured.
So far, in 2023, there have been 32 mass shootings, the most recent in Indiana County that claimed the life of one person an injured 8 others.
Gun violence prevention organizations like Ceasefire Pa are advocating for change
In not only Pennsylvania legislation but also in resources for a community based approach of decreasing violence.
We spoke with them about Sunday’s deadly mass shooting.
“This is sadly a reminder and it should be a call to action that we need systemic reforms to address this system of crisis because if we know one thing it’s that there’s a very clear connection between the strength of a state’s gun laws and how much overall gun violence they have.”
Pennsylvania’s neighbors like New York and New Jersey have lower rates of gun violence comparatively due to stricter gun laws.
According to Ceasefire Pa, 33 people are killed by guns every week in Pennsylvania. Per capita, rural communities experience higher rates than those in urban settings.
“Gun violence, it traumatizes all of us as a society where we all are afraid. There’s this constant nagging in the back of our head that what if it could happen here? And in this case it did.”
Back in May, the Pennsylvania house of representatives passed legislation that would Expand background checks for firearm purchases and provide emergency protection For gun owners who are at risk of harming themselves or others.
Those are bills hb 1018, and hb714. However, these bills have not moved past the senate despite bipartisan support.
“We know that those two bills in particular would be really effective in stopping mass shootings. Universal background checks for example, the gap in our law right now for our background check system is that you can buy a long gun an AR-15, or a shotgun or any other kind of long barrel weapon. You can buy that weapon privately with no background check at all in Pennsylvania.”
Ar-15’s are one of the most common guns used in mass shooting events according to the Washington Post.
While many people try to find different reasons for mass shootings, data shows us one main driver.
“After every kind of shooting, and mass shootings especially, there is all these efforts to explain away PA’s and America’s gun violence epidemic. Oh, it’s mental health related, oh it’s video games, it’s bad parenting, whatever it may be. When really, all the data is really clear. The fundamental driver of gun violence is access to guns. The more guns there are in a community, the more unsecure guns there are in a community, the higher rates of gun violence they’re going to see.”
While the data paints a bleak picture, activists believe we can end gun violence with the right tools and support.
“Suicides are continuing to rise, mass shootings like we saw in white township continue to rise. This crisis is getting worse and worse but we know how to solve it. If we have the political will of our elected officials who’s job it is to keep us safe.”
For more information on gun violence prevention visit ceasefirepa.org.