Created: December 11, 2019 10:38 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Scenes of children running during the Parkland Shooting in 2018 frightened parents like Alisha Eiken.
"I quit my job,” said Eiken, co-leader of the Rochester group of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “I wanted to free up time to do this advocacy and I have the privilege of being able to do that so I felt like it was the right move."
Eiken said the group doesn’t want to take away guns but “to keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to be a danger to themselves and others."
The group hosted a town hall Wednesday night and brought in community leaders like Mayor Kim Norton to talk about gun violence in the area. The group says gun violence is the leading cause of death among children and teens in Minnesota.
Panelists discussed the role of education and the impact gun violence has on children and even law enforcement.
"People are passionate about this topic and it was really refreshing tonight to have a nice, open dialogue,” said David Sas, a Mayo Clinic pediatric nephrologist and group volunteer. Sas was part of the panel.
"I put all my energy and all my effort into helping children with rare diseases and if we can do it for rare diseases, we should be putting forth great effort for the number two leading cause of death in children in the United States,” he said.
Panelists said recognizing who should have access to guns is key but that the process should not reinforce stereotypes about low socioeconomic communities or people of color.
But the conversations went beyond just shootings, members say gun-related suicides are an issue.
“If we don't talk about it, we're not going to find a solution and I think tonight, we heard from our community leaders that there are real solutions that we are currently doing and we also identified the things we need to prove upon,” Eiken said.
Proving that this topic will continue to bring communities together.
The group also advocates for red flag laws and background check updates.
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