Rep. Keturah Herron on gun violence and the need for accurate information

October 12, 2023

Rep. Keturah Herron (Leading with Conviction™ 2019) writes:

“One in five Americans has a direct connection to fatal gun violence, and 120 people are killed by a firearm every day. For Black Americans like me, the rate is 10 times worse than for those who are white.

“A recent poll by Pew Research Center underscores the fear many have, with about 60 percent of Americans calling gun violence a major problem. That’s nine percentage points higher than in 2022, and about the same percentage expects the crisis to worsen in the next five years.

“I see this devastation up close in my legislative district, where I have received numerous calls from constituents distraught over loved ones who have been murdered in the prime of their lives. A lot of these victims are still in their teens, and many others their age tell me that getting a gun is easier than finding a job.

We are failing our young people

“There is a vast underground firearms market, and it’s the foundation of a grim statistic showing that, in both 2020 and 2021, firearm deaths killed more U.S. children between the ages of one and 17 than motor vehicle accidents or illness. Their mortality rate from gun violence has actually doubled in just a decade.

“We are failing our young people, but if there is one thing we have learned as a state with one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, pretending we can solve it by building new jails, prisons and juvenile-detention centers is not the answer.

“Many solutions have been offered by both sides of the political aisle, from loosening to tightening firearm restrictions to focusing more on mental-health treatment. We can cite one national statistic after another to back up whatever proposal we support, but we lack the Kentucky-specific data that would show us what would truly work best here.

“An [Office of Gun Violence Prevention within the Department of Public Health] dedicated to data, prevention and serving as a channel for federal funding in these areas should not be seen as partisan, or as a prelude to any particular legislative action. It should be recognized simply for what it is, a source that will give us better information and more expertise to address something we all should want: an end to senseless gun violence.”

Read the full op-ed at

(Photo above Kriech-Higdon Photography)

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