LARGO – After kicking off National Domestic Violence Awareness month with a speech on violence throughout regional communities, Prince George’s County Chairman Mel Franklin kept up the fight with United States Senator Ben Cardin by targeting gun violence. Cardin hosted a roundtable discussion forum on gun violence in Largo with Prince George’s County State’s Attorney […]
LARGO – After kicking off National Domestic Violence Awareness month with a speech on violence throughout regional communities, Prince George’s County Chairman Mel Franklin kept up the fight with United States Senator Ben Cardin by targeting gun violence.
Cardin hosted a roundtable discussion forum on gun violence in Largo with Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, as well as Franklin. Among the topics discussed were the causes and solutions to gun violence, not only in Prince George’s County, but throughout the country.
With a gun show being held in Prince George’s County’s Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Franklin said he is not in favor of having the shows in a parks facility and does not believe the activity is “legitimate.”
Franklin said guns, overall, must be strictly legislated and controlled. Citizens should have the right to bear arms, but strong safety standards must be practiced for events like gun shows and places with firearms.
Since Oct. 7, according to spotcrime.com, there have been three shootings in the county. Too many incidents of violence involve guns, Franklin said.
“We should not have to wait until an incident happens,” he said.
Cardin agreed with Franklin, saying safety standards must be upheld and guns must be strictly legislated. Gun violence is a problem throughout the country, he said, and needs to be taken care of.
“You are 20 times more likely to die from gun violence in American than any other industrialized nation,” Cardin said. “That’s outrageous. We need to act and we need to act now. We cannot accept inaction.”
Earlier this month, Cardin and other members of the U.S. Senate proposed solutions to help the nation address what they called a “firearms crisis.” There are current bipartisan proposals already being considered, he said, including stronger background checks, as well as closing gun show loopholes.
“We have an epidemic here and we need to deal with it in a sensible way. We can no longer sit on the sidelines as senseless gun violence continues to tear apart our communities,” Cardin said.
Mental health issues have also become a problem intertwined with gun control. Since the 2012 shootings in Newtown, Conn. where Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults, mental health and background checks have become an important part of the conversation on gun control.
After the Newtown shooting, President Barack Obama made it clear in his State of the Union speech that gun control is something the country needs to further examine. He proposed a series of bills that would strengthen background checks, ban “assault weapons,” and further address mental health issues throughout the country.
Cardin said his bills and initiatives on gun control, which are similar to those proposed by Obama in 2012, would save lives. The legislation has support, but the leaders of congress must bring the issue to a vote.
“These measures contain logical steps that will help to save lives and they are widely supported by the American people, regardless of political party,” Cardin said. “If we get a vote we may win.”
According to a recent Gallup poll, 55 percent of United States citizens prefer to have stricter gun control laws, while 33 percent of citizens would prefer they remained where they currently stand. Only 27 percent of citizens polled believe there should be a handgun ban in place. That number increased from 24 percent in 2013.
The mark of citizens preferring stricter gun control laws is up 11 percent from where it was in 2012 when Obama made his initial proposals on gun legislation, and up six percent from just one year ago.
State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said many of the children today reach the age of 21 and are uneducated in gun safety. One third of children in juvenile detention are mentally ill, she said.
“By the time too many of our children reach age 21, they’re sick, violent and uneducated,” Alsobrooks said. “The only place they are guaranteed healthcare is in prison.”