After a man killed four employees and wounded at least nine others in a shooting he livestreamed on social media in downtown Louisville, gun-violence prevention groups cited the need for better ways to legally allow law enforcement to take guns from people in crisis, before tragedy occurs.
Cathy Mekus, Kentucky chapter lead for the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, explained legislation known as Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention has been filed in the past several years by three state representatives, but has largely been ignored. It would mean after hearing from a concerned community member, police could petition a judge to have a person’s firearms transferred out of their possession until it is determined the individual is no longer a threat to themselves or others.
“In some of the cases, there are people who know something and who can say something,” Mekus explained. “In those cases, this provides a tool to stop that person before they commit this act.”
Mekus added volunteers with her group had originally planned to travel to Nashville to support the moms affected by the recent elementary school shooting there. Now, she said plans may change as Louisville grapples with a mass shooting at home.
Marcy Timmerman, executive director of Mental Health America of Kentucky, said the Disaster Distress hotline, available by calling or texting 988, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help Kentuckians navigate their emotions and mental health in the weeks to come.
“They have been trained in this already helping people process,” Timmerman noted. “If you’ve been through gun violence before, and this has triggered you, they can help you kind of talk through what your needs might be.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 29 mass shootings in Kentucky since 2014.
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