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Guns Down in Pittsburgh

CeasefirePA and Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence partnered to bring Igor Volsky, the founder of Guns Down America to town for a discussion of how to build a safer future with fewer guns.  Mr. Volsky shared his innovative approach of confronting the NRA and the politicians who take their money.  He was joined by an outstanding panel, chaired by Rob Conroy, the Director of Organizing for CeaseFirePA. The panel included Rep. Ed Gainey; Mayor Bill Peduto; and Tim Stevens, the Executive Director of B-PEP (The Black Political Empowerment Project) and the Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence.  The wide-ranging discussion covered causes and responses to gun violence, the relationship of gun violence and poverty, the challenges faced by returning citizens, and the legislative agenda and strategy for reducing gun violence.

Coverage below from the Post Gazette:

"Also Wednesday, Guns Down America and CeaseFirePA hosted a town hall discussion on potential solutions to gun violence with state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington; Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto; Greater Coalition of Pittsburgh Against Violence co-convener Tim Stevens; and Guns Down America founder Igor Volsky at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center in the Hill District.

Mr. Peduto said that if federal and state governments are reluctant to make changes to stop violence, people can push for change at the local level.

“There is a logic that would say that if people were waking up every morning and toasters were catching on fire and people were losing their lives, the first thing we would do is fix the toasters,” Mr. Peduto said. “For some reason, the logic doesn’t apply to this issue.”

Mr. Gainey said banks and corporations must also be held accountable. He said activists should refuse to do business with various companies and banks until they explain their plans to push for gun violence prevention. Guns Down America has created a campaign called “Is Your Bank Loaded?” to grade banks on their links to the gun industry.

“Banks have unique leverage with the gun industry, and they should not be doing business with the industry given its current business practices,” Mr. Volsky said. “Our hard-earned dollars that we put in those banks should not fund the gun industry, either.”

Dan Gigler:; Twitter @gigs412.



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