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Published on September 18th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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The Time to Act is Now

One Columbia Family, 

Gun violence in communities across our nation has gotten out of control. As of today, there have already been over 250 mass shootings in the country this year, including the horrific shootings in Texas & Ohio. Over 250 moments of terror for families, kids, and citizens. That number doesn’t even include the daily gun violence that occurs in our communities. There is no longer any time to wait, we must begin to act now.

The federal government has not acted. Recently, I joined nearly 300 of my colleagues in signing on to a letter encouraging Senator Mitch McConnell to call back the Senate to vote on bipartisan gun control measures that the majority of our country agrees on.  

Gun violence is affecting every community in America, including our own. We have and continue to deal with the effects of senseless gun violence every single day. I continue to encourage our federal and state leaders to take action on gun violence. However, we can no longer wait.

We have invested heavily in public safety, with a 70% increase in our public safety budget over the course of my time in office. We’re implementing exciting Shot Spotter technology in strategic areas across the city, and are seeing benefits because of it. This technology allows CPD to quickly detect and locate where a gun is shot. Get a closer look at the technology here: https://www.shotspotter.com/technology/

City Council passed three ordinances aimed at combating gun violence and hate crimes in our community. They include:

·  Extreme Risk Protection Orders which gives family members and law enforcement the ability to request temporary restrictions to access firearms for high-risk individuals

·  A Hate Intimidation ordinance that would allow additional penalties to be imposed when a crime is committed based on perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, disability or national origin

·  Implementing the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 which prohibits unauthorized individuals from possessing a loaded firearm within 1,000 feet of a public or private school. 

In the absence of federal and state action on these areas, I believe we must act.  It is my hope that together, we can make Columbia and all of America, a safer place for all people.

Sincerely,

Steve Benjamin
Mayor
Columbia, South Carolina

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