YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From Sandy Hook Elementary School to San Bernardino, California, even here locally, senseless shootings can leave many wondering what can be done to prevent such tragedies.
President Barack Obama is hoping to prevent future mass shootings by tightening control and enforcement of firearms in the U.S. through the use of his presidential powers.
The president unveiled his plan to the public on Tuesday. It would expand the number of gun sales subject to background checks by further defining gun dealers.
The president’s plan has at least one supporter in the Youngstown area.
Rose Carter is the director of ACTION (Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods), a Mahoning Valley social justice organization working toward a safer community, education improvements and supporting the rights of immigrants.
In 2011, Carter remembers ACTION looking into where guns were sold, specifically gun shows where President Obama says there has been a lack of background checks.
“There was so much killing in our city,” Carter said. “It was close to me, close to a lot of people in ACTION and in our congregations.”
Youngstown had 23 murders that year, unrelenting violence, and ACTION was addressing it by trying to help the police. The gun situation and violence remain, and ACTION is still involved.
“The killings have gone down, but we still have a lot of young people whose lives are being taken by illegal guns,” Carter said.
ACTION has a clergy meeting on January 14 and will discuss their stance on the gun control loophole and what actions they can take to support future legislation.
Meanwhile, opponents of Obama’s plan say that making guns harder to obtain take away their Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Some say that criminals will still get those guns illegally, regardless of the new laws put into place.
ACTION has never disputed a citizen’s right to own a gun, according to Carter. The organization’s stance is that buyers should have to go through the proper channels.
ACTION believes the idea can work in Youngstown and across the U.S. Now that the president agrees, Carter said she is energized.