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Dingell Hosts Gun Violence Prevention Roundtable with Community Leaders

 Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) on Wednesday hosted a gun violence prevention roundtable discussion with Moms Demand Action Michigan, Giffords, local law enforcement, and several other community leaders on to provide legislative updates and discuss efforts to combat gun violence from the local and federal level.

In June, Congress passed, and President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first gun violence prevention legislation in more than 30 years. This historic legislation will narrow the boyfriend loophole, enhance background checks, invest in mental health services, and increase school mental health and safety funding.

“This is an important conversation to have, especially now as kids are returning to school. Gun violence has impacted the lives of far too many Americans and thoughts and prayers are not going to prevent the next tragedy,” said Rep. Dingell. “President Biden and Congress took a significant step by passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, but there is more work to be done. We must keep up the momentum and continue to have productive conversations about how we can keep our communities safe.”

“Some people look at the gun violence statistics and see them as just numbers, but we know these are real people,” said Celeste Kanpurwala, Moms Demand Action Michigan Chapter Lead and Co-Facilitator of Washtenaw Alive. “We have a long way to go. Yes, we finally just had the first bipartisan legislation on this issue in the last 30 years, which is awesome. The first thing we need to do is get people in office who care about us, who care about our lives, and who care about gun safety.”

“Having been shot at myself gave me a different perspective on why people use guns and what it feels like to be on the other side of a gun. It’s not a good thing to have a gun pointed at you, and it’s not a good thing to point a gun at someone,” said Bryan Foley, of Supreme Felons. “The bridge to coming together is to sit down and listen to a culture that’s unlike yours instead of coming in with a pre-conceived notion.”

“I am pro-second amendment, I am not anti-firearm by any means of the imagination, and I don’t want to take away anyone’s firearms that are responsible gun owners,” said Jonathan Gold, Michigan Chapter President, Giffords Gun Owners for Safety. “By the same token, we have to do something to control the incessant plague of violence – like keeping guns out of the hands of children.”

“This wasn’t your typical gun discussion: ‘we need to prohibit this, we need that.’ It’s what are the root causes, why is this happening,” concluded Rep. Dingell. “Everyone in this room, who came from very different perspectives, believes we need safe storage. That’s not a threat, that’s not taking guns away, that’s just making sure it’s safe. We’re going to formalize these opinions and continue to work together.”

Participants included:

  • Moms Demand Action Michigan Chapter Lead and Co-Facilitator of Washtenaw Alive;
  • Jonathan Gold, Michigan Chapter President, Giffords Gun Owners for Safety;
  • Bryan Foley, Supreme Felons Inc.;
  • Derrick Jackson, Washtenaw County Sheriff Office;
  • Heath Lowry, Staff Attorney & Policy Specialist, Survivor Law Clinic, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence;
  • Arianne Slay, Former Washtenaw County Prosecutor;
  • Alena Zachery-Ross, Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools; and
  • Matthew Raad, VA Ann Arbor Community Engagement Coordinator. 

Dingell has been a leader in advancing gun violence prevention laws including legislation to require background checks for all gun sales and close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to buy weapons.

A recording of the roundtable discussion is available on Rep. Dingell’s Facebook page here.

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