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MLive: Kalamazoo shooting victim's father challenges U.S. to reduce gun violence

MLive - Kalamazoo shooting victim's father challenges U.S. to reduce gun violence

Washington, DC, June 20, 2016 | Lindsay Knake

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton, county police chiefs and law enforcement officials, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, Washtenaw County commissioners and Department of Public Health Executive Director Ellen Rabinowitz appeared together for Washtenaw County Gun Safety Week, where community leaders called for residents to take measures to keep guns safe.

The officials hosted a press conference at the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

"We're not trying to make political statements," Clayton said. "We think there's an opportunity to balance...everybody's individual right to own guns, but in a responsible and reasonable way."

In the United States, 33,000 people died last year from a gun, including suicides and homicides, Kopf said.

But Kopf believes that could change.

A country that could put a man on the moon within 10 years could reduce gun violence with the same commitment, he said.

"I challenge the United States to develop the lowest rate of gun violence in any country on the planet in the next decade. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard," he said.

For Gun Safety Week, officials are focused on legal gun ownership and ask residents to use trigger locks and store guns safely to ensure they stay out of the wrong hands or the hands of those who would harm themselves.

Clayton said suicide is the largest type of gun death in Washtenaw County.

Dingell encouraged parents to ask friends and relatives about whether they've secured guns in the home before dropping kids off to play or stay.

"We all know that children will start digging around where they shouldn't be, and the last we want is for them to stumble upon an unsecured gun," she said.

Each law enforcement agency in the county has gun locks and gun safety information available this week.

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