Gun violence is an issue that many don’t like to discuss and, in fact, like to imagine that it is “out there,” not something that is an issue in bucolic Chester County.
The facts show otherwise.
Here are some recent examples. In mid-September, a husband and father of two was shot and killed in West Fallowfield during a robbery. On Wednesday of the following week, a man brought his gun to Bellingham Retirement Community in East Goshen and shot and killed his parents. This followed a rampage at his former home where he shot multiple times at his ex-wife. Early this summer, a husband shot and killed his wife and then committed suicide with his gun, leaving two children without parents. This spring, a man was shot and killed inside the Star Social Club on East Market Street in West Chester.
We are also losing residents to gun suicide. Chester County has had 27 gun suicides as of late September 2018, already surpassing the 2017 total of 26 gun suicides.
What can we do? Here are some suggestions.
Get educated on candidate positions and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Gun Sense Chester County has compiled voter education materials covering candidate positions on this issue. These can be found on our website: Candidate Info.
Contact your elected officials now to ask them to pass two common sense pieces of legislation. HB 2227/SB 1141 bills to enact a Extreme Risk Protective Order, a tool that helps families and law enforcement temporarily remove guns from those showing signs of potentially hurting themselves or others, and HB 2060 to remove firearms promptly from the hands of domestic abusers. Information on both bills can be found on our website.
Get Involved. Join a gun violence prevention group such as Gun Sense Chester County and/or donate funds to help with our work. The more members we have, the more influence we have in demanding change from our elected officials. A recent Washington Post article noted that it would appear the NRA’s membership is up following the Parkland, FL school shooting. Those who want to achieve a sensible balance for the presence of guns in our society must stand up and be counted.
Talk with others to share your concerns and share your perspective. We can’t address the issue unless our communities come together to seek a path forward.
Surveys have repeatedly shown there are significant areas of agreement between those who own guns, and don’t own guns, on major gun policy changes that can help reduce gun violence. Let’s get those changes passed. Our communities belong to every resident. Let’s come together to reduce gun injury and death in our homes and towns. YOU can help us make this happen.