Relaxed gun laws let gun violence ravage the state

Olivia Perfetti, The Eagle Staff Writer

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There are few of us who have not been touched by senseless violence. Whether the violence involves one of our loved ones or whether we hear about it in the news, violent incidents, especially involving guns, have become an inescapable tragedy in our community.
Gun violence in the United States is the leading cause of death among African American children and teens. It is the second leading cause of death for all children ages 1-19. When there is a gun in the home, the chance of a homicide of one of the residents is three times higher, the chance of a suicide is five times higher, and the chance of an accidental death is four times higher than in homes without a gun. These are the facts, according to WQED and the New Pittsburgh Courier.
In 2012, there were 96 homicides in Allegheny County. In 2013, there were 91. More than 76% of the victims in the two years were killed by a firearm. The number of deaths and injuries related to gun violence in Allegheny County has risen substantially over the past few years and Pennsylvania still has not passed any stringent gun control laws.
For example, Pennsylvania requires a background check prior to the private sale of a handgun and requires firearm dealers to obtain a state license, but does not do any of the following: limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time, require owners to obtain a license, regulate unsafe handguns (such as assault weapons, .50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines), or regulate ammunition sales.
The need for serious change has not escaped organizations in our community. The Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, a group of religious organizations throughout Pittsburgh, has begun an initiative to battle gun violence. WQED is directing an initiative to investigate the causes and possible solutions to gun violence in Allegheny County, especially in Pittsburgh.
But every one of us can make a difference as well. Keep your homes free of firearms. Talk to your friends and family about gun violence and how it affects everyone, black youth in particular. Share this information with others.
You can watch WQED’s community forum for more information at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA9i0s878RA.

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