A call for action: Indiana’s gun violence problem
Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 27, 2017
Arshell “Trey” Dennis III was the 19-year-old son of a Chicago police officer and a journalism student at St. John’s University in New York. Trey was a student just like you are. He worked hard in school and was active in his community. Trey had a full life and endless opportunities ahead of him, just like you.
The only difference? Trey was shot and killed on his friend’s porch on the southwest side of Chicago on August 14, 2016, while home visiting his sick mother. In a short moment, the promise, brilliance and life of Dennis was stilled by a person with a weapon only capable of delivering death and pain.
In 2016, the city of Chicago saw 4,368 residents fall victim to senseless gun violence, a heartbreaking toll that disproportionately impacted black and Hispanic youth in the poorest parts of the city. Within the first month of this year, 311 shootings stained the streets, surpassing last year’s January total. The thought of another year like 2016 should be enough to shake most of us out of apathy; the possibility that it could get even worse should be a call to action.
Every unregistered gun that slips into Chicago is primed to create its own unique catastrophe. The victims of gun violence in that city are young and old. The names and stories of individuals are more important than the statistics, however shocking the large numbers may be. Trey is just one of those many names and stories.
As students at the University of Notre Dame and residents of Indiana, we must face a hard truth: We have a hand in the violence.
Indiana has notoriously weak gun laws. Background checks are not required for weapons bought at private gun shows. Because of this, Indiana is a major source of guns used in crimes in Chicago; to be precise, 3,629 Illinois crime guns originated in Indiana between 2010 and 2014. According to a 2014 Chicago Police Department report, nearly 20 percent of recovered firearms used in Chicago crimes originated in Indiana.
Want to have a hand in changing this system?
To start, you can support a resolution that will come before the South Bend Common Council on March 27 calling on our local, state, and federal leaders to expand background checks and strengthen state domestic violence laws. Sign our petition to support the resolution and come out Monday night at 6 p.m. to the South Bend City-County Building to support the resolution.
It is time for us to take action.
Mary Grace Henry
Notre Dame Students Against Gun Violence Club
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.