Organizers Want To Spark Conversation Over Gun Violence

Hand gun with ammunition.

Hand gun with ammunition.

by Ken Allsup
June 18th, 2022

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Birds are chirping, there is a hum of nearby traffic, and the cool, peaceful shade surrounding the bandstand in Oskaloosa, contrasted the horrors that played out at the hands of mass shooters recently.

A recent series of shootings have again brought the nation’s eye to gun violence, and two individuals in Oskaloosa wanted to help bring the conversation forward locally.

Chad Farner and Brant Bollman were having a conversation over chat one evening concerning gun violence, “We both just felt like we needed to do something that these prayers and thoughts weren’t going to do it. The silence wasn’t going to work anymore.”

According to Pew Research Center, 2020 had the most Americans dying from gun-related injuries over any other recorded year.

2020 had 45,222 total gun deaths, a 43% increase from the previous decade. That statistic may be alarming, but Pew says that number doesn’t consider a growing population.

As of 2020, the number of gun deaths remained below the peak of 1974, when there were 7.4 gun deaths per 100,000 people. In 2020, there were 6.2 gun deaths per 100,000.

The number of active shooter incidents has increased from 3 in 2000 to 40 in 2020, and Pew says those types of shootings “account for a small fraction of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year.”

Farner says there have been rallies in DC and Des Moines, “We just felt like we also, in Oskaloosa, needed to say something about gun violence.”

Farner said he hoped the evening would help start a conversation. “I don’t think we really have an end result or end goal in mind. I certainly don’t have the solution.”

“If there was one solution, we’d have done that,” Farner said. “But I think the best analogy is car safety.”

“I mean, 10s of 1000s of people die every year in car accidents. What do we do to mitigate that? We require licenses; we require seatbelts, we have all these safety features in cars. We have speed limits, the police out there to monitor all those things,” added Farner.

“And I think we just need to look for ways to mitigate,” said Farner. “So I know they’re talking about raising the age of somebody who can purchase something like an AR-15. So that’s a step. Increasing the what are called Red Flag laws. You know, enforcing those, that’s another step.”

“I don’t think this group is advocating for the elimination of guns in our country. That’s not a possibility,” added Farner. “Can we work to restrict who gets guns and maybe what kinds of guns those are? I think that’s all got to be part of the conversation. There’s got to be a conversation.”

“We want to give everybody an avenue to express themselves and make a statement,” said organizer Brant Bollman. None of us are for taking away guns from everybody, but just some common-sense action to make guns safer,” Bollman added.

Bollman also added that limiting access for 18-year-olds to items like “assault weapons would be a good start.”

What the data says about gun deaths in the U.S.

Posted by on Jun 18 2022. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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