June is Gun Violence Awareness Month...so what does this mean for Wyomingites?
How does Wyoming navigate Gun Heritage in the month of Gun Violence Awareness in light of the National Mass shootings
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Folks across the nation are rattled tonight because of the mass shootings. One at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas and another at a hospital in Tulsa Oklahoma.
These guns were purchased legally by men who had no prior record of mental health issues or criminal backgrounds.
Here a Hosptial and Wyoming school official say they are constantly working to be prepared in case the unthinkable happens.
Meanwhile, local political leaders are looking for solutions.
On this National Gun Violence Awareness Day, we take a dive into the conversation.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 200 mass shootings in 2022.
Since the Uvalde Robb Elementary school shooting, there have been 20, averaging over 1 mass shooting a day.
As of 2020, gun violence is the leading cause of death for children.
So, with Wyoming’s outdoor heritage, steeped in guns and hunting, how do we protect our most vulnerable?
During Wyoming’s last Legislative Session, the Second Amendment Protection Act passed, protecting against unconstitutional federal action violating 10th or 2nd Amendment rights.
According to State Senator Larry Hicks, saying gun violence is due to people’s over-exposure to guns, ignores a population that grew up with guns as part of their cultural heritage.
“As a student at the University of Wyoming, I would park my vehicle in the parking lot take my rifles and my shotguns walk across campus...that’s the culture most of us grew up in,” said Senator Larry Hicks, District 11.
On Friday, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for the first time ever. wanted to acknowledge June as Gun Violence Awareness Month with #WearOrange day to honor communities impacted by gun violence.
“As nurses, we see first-hand the grief and devastation that comes with gun violence and how it ripples out into families and into our communities. We felt compelled to begin advocating for an end to gun violence,” said Jared Skagen, Director of Trauma and Emergency Services, CRMC.
Last week, we spoke to LCSD1 Superintendent Dr. Margaret Crespo about Uvalde and the mass shootings we are seeing recently.
“We can only make sure that we are prepared and that our kids are ready and have the mental fortitude and the action steps to be able to navigate if and when that situation occurs,” said Dr, Margaret Crespo, Superintendent LCSD1
These experts agree that community resources, family, and mental health all play a role in fixing these issues.
“Don’t think this is the responsibility of the school board. It is not the ultimate responsibility of the Legislature or the governor, or anybody else. There is a collective responsibility as a member of society to get engaged. You have a responsibility here as an individual, every one of us,” said Hicks.
While experts agree these problems won’t be fixed overnight having broader discussions on safety and community resources may be a step in the right direction.
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