Church takes on hot topic of gun violence

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - A metro church is tackling the issue of gun violence and it's ripple effect Sunday.

Village Presbyterian Church hosted a discussion on the national and much-debated issue.

Executive Pastor Dr. Cynthia Holder Rich said it becomes bigger issue when someone is shot and killed.

"It isn't just one person who has been killed. There are many people, family members, community members whole communities, schools, congregations, who are impacted by gun violence," she said.

The church invited the public in to learn more about this domino effect and the audience of about 60 people learn of the statistic: 30,000 people killed by gunfire every year.

The audience meets "survivors," if you will, in a film called "Trigger."

Two speakers take questions from the public. One is works with a community group to try to prevent homicides and another who works to find answers to them as a Prairie Village police sergeant.

Sgt. Byron Roberson was asked by attendees many questions, like what an assault weapon is, what it takes to get a gun, what they can do to help and how to protect themselves.

Roberson said you can make yourselves a tougher target by being aware of your surroundings. He said make sure your homes are secure and do things like, trim bushes away from windows. He said you can protect your homes, without a firearm.

"More guns on the street doesn't necessarily make it more safe because it is a tough job for us to deal with the illegal guns, but also deal with the people who may be legally carrying guns as well. It just makes our job a little bit harder to take care of," Roberson said.

Evelyn Lobb, an attendee said this won't really change how she lives right now, but said it is an important conversation to have, outside of the church walls, too.

"I think today it wasn't to choose sides, it was to look at the issues and think what can we do," Lobb said.

The regional body of the Presbyterian Church is circulating a petition, calling on lawmakers to pass specific legislation to stop gun violence.

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