A Call to Action: The Fight Against Gun Violence in the Erie Community

Joe Green, Staff Writer

Video Made By Joe Green about “A Call to Action.”

Owning a gun is a legal right people have in America, should it be obtained legally. With this comes the responsibility of keeping it safe around children. 


The Erie Police Department and the group Being Better Neighbors created a Zoom Webinar named, A Call to Action. It was made to address recent trends relating to guns in the U.S. and Erie community. Being Better Neighbors is a group from Erie whose goal is to, “bring awareness to issues facing people of color and other marginalized communities,” according to their Facebook group. For this particular zoom call they focused on another one of their missions: establishing an inclusive community through “youth outreach” and “community policing.”  


The Erie Police Department has worked directly with the St. Vrain Valley School District to try to solve any possible problems relating to gun violence before they start. Erie Police Chief Kimberly Stewart says, “Dr. Don Haddad [the superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley School District] and I have had conversations about how best to deal with issues involving our youth. I could not have a better confidant in this area.”


Joe Fott, a sophomore at Erie High School and a person whose parents are gun owners, says, “I think one thing is just keep them locked up. Like, okay, if you’re not using them put them in your gun safe. Keep them out of sight. Just make sure that a child can’t get into them.”


Joe Fott adds, “I think that [children] need to be exposed, but if they’re not into it, then they don’t need to be forced into it.” He continues, “But I feel like children should be kind of exposed to it… [So] they know how dangerous it is” 


Children are not the only people that can obtain someone else’s gun. In 2020, 12,981 guns were reported lost or stolen, according to thetrace.org. Joe Fott says, “I think that stolen or lost guns is quite a big issue, just because, who knows who those people are that either find them or get them from a pawn shop or something. You don’t know, they didn’t get a background check, so you don’t know who they are.” 


A topic brought up on the zoom webinar was that parents should know about their child’s social media presence and how guns can be acquired through social media. They said during the meeting that teens can meet up on Snapchat and give each other guns. Joe Fott disagrees however, “I don’t think so. I don’t see anything that social media has to do with guns.”


Gun safes are something that the Erie Police Department and Being Better Neighbors recommend. Throughout the zoom webinar, there were breaks to spin a virtual wheel to see if a registered viewer could win 1 of 6 handgun safes. Studies show that gun safes are used more when there are children in the home. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Gun owners were 44 percent more likely to report safely storing all their firearms if they have a child under the age of 18 in the home.” Joe Fott noted, “I think that gun safes are effective if you buy the right one. Some gun safes are too small, you want something that is immovable. Some of them you can screw to the wall. You don’t want something that two strong guys could pick up and walk out [with]. You want something that is permanently attached and won’t move.”