Community members meet to discuss gun violence prevention

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Students, teachers and members of the community came together Tuesday night at the Ecumenical Campus Ministry building on Sunset Avenue to talk about gun violence prevention.

The event, hosted by Kowan Russell, graduate student in theatre, and Mattie O’Boyle, senior in psychology, allowed students to see how campus and community initiatives stand on the issue of gun violence.

Russell said they want to find out more about organizations and how they “align regarding gun policies.”

For campus initiatives, there was a list of events planned by assorted student organizations as well as marches and rallies in Kansas City, which will take place in March and plan to bring awareness to shootings on a national scale.

Christian Watkins, campus pastor for ECM, said her ministry is cooperating with students on a “myriad of issues.”

“One of our missions is to support student initiatives,” Watkins said. “We are very active theologically as a Christian community with other leaders in the community who want to have meaningful conversations about things like gun violence and gun issues.”

As for community initiatives, the discussion centered around how Manhattan as a city is dealing with gun violence.

Rachel Gintner, Manhattan resident, said she has been planning a chapter of the Moms Demand Action movement In Manhattan. The movement regarding gun violence has been in the works for about the last four months.

Gintner said the movement is designed to give a voice to citizens like herself who support the Second Amendment but who also want common sense legislation that protects the community.

“We support gun owners, we just want you to be safe about it,” Gintner said.

Gintner said a few of the goals of Moms Demand Action are to see to the closure of loopholes in pre-existing legislation by redesigning current background check systems and to install limits on the allowed locations, times and procedures for the carry of firearms in public.

O’Boyle said she believes this event is simply a starting point “to get the conversation going.”

To learn about the current laws for carrying a firearm in Manhattan, check out the Riley County Police Department website or the Kansas State Weapons Policy Amendment.

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