Fatherhood forum seeks solutions to gun violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- There have been 36 homicides in Indianapolis so far this year, and 31 of them involved firearms.

The Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library held its third Fatherhood Forum on Gun Rights and Gun Violence at the East 38th Street library branch.

“We want to bring the community together to talk about what can be done to curb the violence in our community,” said IHMFC Executive Director Jerri Rozzell.  “I think our community needs to hear what our leadership has to say about it but also the leadership needs to hear what the community’s concerns are.”

Tony Gregory is a veteran gun safety instructor at Indy Arms Company.

He teaches both 2nd Amendment enthusiasts and gun owners philosophically opposed to firearms how to safely handle and fire their weapon.

“The common ground I think is to say, if you’re gonna own gun, you have to own them safely and you have to own them responsibly. You have to be the kind of person who takes care of them and knows where they are, knows how to handle them, teaches your children and loved ones how to handle them so they don’t encounter these and not know it.”

By mid-March, IMPD had seized or recovered 655 guns.

Last year, Metro police took more than 1,000 stolen gun reports. IMPD reports that hundreds of guns are stolen from vehicles every year.

“Everybody’s forgotten to lock their car or lock their front door at night. The difference is when you don’t lock your car and there’s a gun in there, then you’re forgetting that your gun is different than your laptop,” said Gregory. “When you leave a deadly weapon, and they are dangerous weapons, in your car and don’t secure it or you leave it laying out on the table at home and you don’t secure it, that’s substantially different.”

Sabrinna Stennette’s two sons were shot to death on Indianapolis’ west side in 2012 in a case that remains unsolved.

“I think both sides can come together and come to some common ground on, one, we never wanted our kids to die by the hands of guns, two, we never wanted guns to be in the hands of people who don’t legally own a gun, and, three, we all want to be educated on if we have a gun how to properly store and prevent accidents from happening with guns.”

Tonight’s forum is being held three weeks before the NRA will open its annual convention in Indianapolis on April 25.

“I think it provides our community leaders to have a discussion with the NRA about some solutions that they can suggest on how we can curb the violence in our communities,” said Rozzell. “They have to have some ideas about what has worked in other areas in our country.”

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