LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - How can Louisville curb gun violence? It’s a question that’s been talked about for years now, and it’s clear that there isn’t a quick fix. The topic was up for discussion Monday hoping to get the attention of those who do work in Washington.
There were several anti-violence advocates, police, faith leaders and victims' families who came together at the Chestnut Street YMCA for a discussion with Senator Rand Paul on Monday. They talked about a report called, "Violence Impact on Children Learning" produced by a non-profit called the Game Changers, led by community activist Christopher 2X.
The report details how gun violence unravels our community. It says children suffer in an immense way if they get hit by bullet, witness a shooting, lose someone close or live on edge because gunshots are common in their neighborhood.
The Gwynn family in Louisville knows what it feels like to live life in pain. On December 19, 2019, 19-year-old Christian Gwynn was heading home. He was with some friends at South 43rd and West Market Streets when gunshots started coming from a passing car. His life taken so brutally has left his family devastated.
"We don't know if we were coming or going sometimes," said Krista Gwynn, Christian's mother. "We have two children under the age of 18 that are affected by it. Some days they good some days they bad. Then I have an autistic grown 23 year old who is just in solace. He doesn't want to do anything. He misses his brother."
Christian's case is still unsolved.
Jerron Jones is a therapist and he hopes Senator Paul heard the passion and heartache coming from Monday's gathering. Jones sees the impact gun violence has on our youth.
"From a behavioral, social, and emotional standpoint, I think children lose social capital," Jones said. "Afraid to go outside own communities, don't engage much with piers and teachers at schools, impacts academics."
"Sometime people say oh you are coming from Bowling Green what do you know about any of this," Senator Paul said. "There is some truth to that, I don't live here so I can't know it as intimately as everybody else does."
But Senator Paul says he's aware of the psychological impact of gun violence. In 2017, he was in Alexandria, Virginia when a gunman opened fire as congressmen and aides were practicing for an upcoming congressional baseball game. Since then, Senator Paul said he does have a reaction to gun shots.
"I had a whole life to be prepared for this, these kids don't have that," Senator Paul said.
Often times neither do people who lose a parent, sibling or child. For those who have experienced that loss, they hope Senator Paul can take their stories and bring solutions the next time they see him.
"We know he's busy but, we need help," Gwynn said. "For him to be representing Kentucky, he need to be representing Louisville too."
Senator Paul also talked about having more police officers and tougher penalties for violent criminals as ways to curb gun-related crimes.
"I bet you of all the violent things happening in Louisville, there are probably about 100 bad kids committing like 90% of them, let's get those 100 kids," Senator Paul said. "Ya know that's part of the answer but, I don't think if you ban all the guns, all of these killings would still happen the guns are not being bought at Walmart, maybe occasionally but, almost never. They are almost bought illegally."
Senator Paul said he would rather spend money to help people here in Louisville and not overseas. He says he wants to meet with this group again in a few months. Paul also want to take the group, The Game Changers report, and enter it in to the Congressional Record.
For a link to the report, click here.