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Law enforcement groups voice support for gun safety measures

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National law enforcement groups are joining the chorus of Kentuckians calling on the U.S. Senate to pass meaningful gun-safety measures. A bipartisan group of senators is working on specific legislation after announcing an agreement to support “red flag” laws, boost background checks, and increase mental health resources.

Sen. Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he would support a bill which follows the agreement.

Kym Craven, executive director of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, said her group has been advocating for measures to prevent people with a history of violence or domestic abuse from getting firearms.

“We have a lot of research at our fingertips that we can reflect on and come together,” Craven contended. “And create programs and strategies to reduce the number of gun deaths that are occurring across our nation.”

Last week, U.S. House lawmakers passed the Protecting Our Kids Act, to raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, and create federal laws against gun trafficking, amid other reforms. Only one Kentucky member of the chamber, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) voted to approve the bill. In 2020, the Commonwealth had the 13th-highest gun-death rate in the country, according to the Giffords Law Center.

Craven pointed out several states have struck a balance between responsible gun ownership and policies like implementing universal background checks and closing private-sale loopholes.

“If we look at some of the states that have the strictest gun laws, and when they combine that with programming, they are among the lowest states that are having gun violence,” Craven reported.

Fredrick Thomas, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said for those who chose to serve their communities by becoming a police officer, it is a moral issue.

“I can’t ignore the underserved communities, who see loved ones transform into victims in the blink of an eye,” Thomas emphasized. “I can't ignore the fact that federal inactions have led us to this horrific inflection point.”

Mass shootings have occurred every day in June except one, across Kentucky and more than a dozen other states, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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Written by Nadia Ramlagan for Kentucky News Connection.

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