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Community discusses South Bend Gun Safety Resolution

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

The Gun Violence Prevention Resolution is making its way to South Bend’s Common Council this month. Now, the coalition sponsoring it is trying to drum up community support.

Around 40 people met to discuss the resolution in the Near Northwest Neighborhood Community Center Sunday afternoon, including some survivors of gun violence.

“My kids went to really good schools, and the bullets found their way onto one of my child, onto one of my children, so we should never, ever think that it’s never going to reach my door,” said Maria Pike, who lost her son to gun violence.

Maria Pike’s son was killed in Chicago, but South Bend is no stranger to gun violence.

This year, the city has already seen three shooting deaths: at Miami Hills Apartments, near Blaine Avenue, and on Yukon Street.

“As an old Chinese proverb [says], ‘every crisis creates an opportunity,’ so this is an opportunity to better society,” said Dr. Fred Ferlic, co-creator of the resolution.

“After the shooting death of a two-year-old in South Bend, we got together with Doctor Fred Ferlic, and he felt we needed to have a gun violence prevention resolution, so we’ve been working on that ever since 2014, trying to find the right time to have it go before the council,” said Ferlic’s co-creator, Stephen Miller.

They say that time is now.

“We want everyone here to know that what we’re asking for is really common sense measures,” said Miller.

Those measures include background checks on all gun sales, laws preventing domestic abusers from buying guns, continuing concealed carry permits, and keeping guns off school property.

“We also support the second amendment, because none of the things we’re asking for stops a person from purchasing a gun legally,” said Miller.

The focus is on closing the loopholes in background checks.

“We already have background checks, but it only covers licensed sellers, so there’s about 40% of all gun sales that go without a background check through private sellers at gun shows and on the internet,” said Stephen.

According to the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, expanded background checks significantly reduced the number of gun violence victims in D.C. and the 19 states that passed them.

Their data shows that with the background checks, 47% fewer women were shot by their partners, 47% fewer people committed suicide using a gun, and 53% fewer law enforcement officers were shot and killed in the line of duty.

“This is a problem even if you don’t think it affects you directly. It affects everyone. It affects our community. The liveability, the neighborhoods, and it’s something we can easily fix,” said one of the resolution’s supporters, Kathy Liggett.

“Some of us decide to take action, and that’s what we do 24/7. Why? Because, I want the day that I see my son again, I want him to know that I did it all for him,” said Maria Pike.

The coalition plans to present the resolution to the South Bend Common Council on March 27th, so they’re asking everyone in the community to come out and show their support.

To be clear, the resolution isn’t changing any laws. It’s a request for the Common Council to demand state and federal legislators to take action.

This resolution coincides with a bill that is currently being considered by the Indiana State Legislature. If passed, it would people to carry guns without permits.

For more information about the resolution, you can visit the group's website here.

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