GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Mayor John Dennis has declared Feb. 1- 8 National Gun Violence Survivor Awareness Week in West Lafayette. But Moms Demand Action leaders hope all of Greater Lafayette participates.
Although suicides are the most common gun deaths in Indiana, violent gun crimes are more likely to happen between people who know each other according to Lafayette Police.
“There are a lot of people out there who actually identify as survivors,” said Jennifer Haan, Moms Demand Action State Chapter Co-Lead.
58-percent of Americans to be exact. Haan said in Indiana, more than 900 people die each year from gun violence. Suicide ranks number one in both adults and children, the following is homicide. And unintentional shootings rank high for children as well.
But what about the incidents that don't get reported?
“Domestic violence and those sorts of issues are often under the radar,” said Haan.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly calls it a crime of passion.
“They're very volatile situations,” said Flannelly. “Emotions are running very high, people aren't necessarily acting rationally.”
And when guns are involved it can become deadly.
“When you introduce a firearm into that, people can make a decision in a moment that they would regret for a lifetime,” said Flannelly.
According to Every Town for Gun Safety, an average of 52 women are shot and killed every month in domestic violence situations involving an intimate partner. Haan said this awareness week isn't just for recognizing those who've lost their lives.
“It's also the people who have lost a loved one because somebody took their loved one's life with a gun,” said Haan.
She said Moms Demand Action does believe in the right to own a gun, they're mainly pushing for better laws and regulations.
“This is something that is a crisis and it's unacceptable and it's something that we can combat with some easy gun violence legislation that doesn't put any kind of impediment on a responsible gun owner,” said Haan.
One bill they have their eye on this session is Senate Bill 263. It will require teachers to take specialized training before being able to carry a gun in school. Teachers can currently carry guns in schools in Indiana - if a school board approves - without any training.
The Moms Demand Action activists are concerned it's normalizing teachers needing guns instead of schools investing in more resource officers.