gun violence

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Two southern Kentucky teenagers are hosting what they’re billing as a bipartisan rally for gun law reform.

Palmer Lessenberry and Autumn Harlow are friends and Glasgow High School juniors who say that while they differ politically, they agree that Congress needs to act to address the number of school shootings in the U.S.

Lessenberry says Saturday’s event in Bowling Green will feature speakers from a variety of backgrounds who will talk about what they think should—and shouldn’t—be done to prevent future mass casualty shootings.

Ryland Barton

Students from across Kentucky traveled to the state Capitol to rally against gun violence as part of demonstrations that took place across the country on Wednesday.

More than 40 students from Marshall County High School made the three-and-a-half hour trip to Frankfort.

Marshall County Junior Leighton Solomon was one of several students to speak at the rally. She called on lawmakers to put politics aside and come up with solutions to school violence.

Lisa Autry

You could call it Walkout Wednesday at high schools all over Kentucky-students leaving class in solidarity to end gun violence.

“This protest is not about leaving your class," said Jack Eason, president of the Young Democrats Club at Bowling Green High School. "It’s about sending a message to Frankfort, to Washington DC, that we’re not going to put up with this anymore.”

J. Tyler Franklin

After Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Gov. Matt Bevin lashed out at gun control advocates on Twitter Monday morning, saying that regulations aren’t the answer to gun violence.

“To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs…You can’t regulate evil,” he wrote.

Police say more than 50 people died and more than 500 people were injured in the shooting that took place when a 64-year-old man opened fire on a crowded concert from a 32nd story hotel window.

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Kentucky’s political leaders responded to Thursday’s shootings in Dallas, Texas with grief, sympathy and a hint of the debates to come on gun control and police-involved violence.

On Friday, many vigils and moments of silence were observed across the state. Friday morning, police cruisers across Lexington pulled over and turned on their lights for one minute. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer held a vigil during which he said “supporting police and communities of color are not mutually exclusive.”

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican, called the attacks “unconscionable.”

“This is a cruel reminder that law enforcement officials selflessly put themselves in harm’s way day in and day out to keep our communities safe,” McConnell said. “We extend our hearts to the wounded, to the families and loved ones left behind, to the entire law enforcement community, and to a nation that has experienced much suffering and heartbreak over the course of a difficult week.”

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A Bowling Green resident who has been an instructor for concealed carry permits says President’s Obama’s executive actions on guns announced Jan. 5 are unnecessary. 

Mark Dunnegan  says stricter background checks on gun sales aren’t needed, especially in Kentucky.

“I feel very confident that Kentucky has a very good system of background checks," says Dunnegan. "The NCIC check is a sufficient method, in my opinion, of making sure that those who shouldn’t have guns, don’t have guns.”

He believes increased background checks will hurt law-abiding gun owners.

"I do believe the push to regulate guns is not the solution," he says. "I know the general public and the citizens here in the U.S. are upset and concerned. However, stricter regulations on law-abiding citizens wouldn't be the answer. It would only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect their homes, protect their land, and protect their families."

Dunnegan and his wife both previously taught classes for those who want to get concealed carry permits.

Meanwhile, a Bowling Green woman whose son survived a gunshot wound is praising President Obama’s speech on guns.

Two Year Old Accidentally Shot to Death By Her Brother

May 1, 2013

The Cumberland County Coroner says the toddler was shot and killed by her five year old brother who was playing with a rifle he received as a gift.

Kentucky State Police say the girl was shot just after 1:00 pm Tuesday and was taken to Cumberland County Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Coroner Gary White said the children's mother was home at the time of the shooting.

White said the boy received the rifle made for youths last year and is used to shooting it. he said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn't realize a shell was left inside it. White said the shooting will be ruled accidental. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Kentucky Congressmen Respond to Gun Control Measures

Jan 17, 2013

Kentucky second district Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie says he thinks preventing other tragedies like the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut can best be accomplished by focusing on mental health issues. The Bowling Green Republican favors that approach instead of what he calls "infringing on the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens."

Guthrie's House Committee on Education and the Workforce will be looking into school safety and he says he plans to get input from Kentucky education officials.

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, on the other hand, says he fully supports all of President Obama's proposals to end gun violence. The only Democrat in Kentucky's Congressional delegation is co-sponsoring a bill to ban high capacity gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.