You hear about it on the news, and it is more common than you may think: gun violence is happening in Rochester.

There have been more than 30 homicides in the city of Rochester since the start of 2021, and more than 70% of those deaths have been from gun violence.

"More than 70% of those deaths have been from gun violence."

What you will not find in the news, however, is the "behind the scenes" information about the stories of these incidents.

Cause and Effect

Gun discussion is a political and cultural battle in our country and in our city.

Gun possession has been a never-ending argument. Citizens are compelled to carry because of the paranoia that they need to defend themselves, with the perceived rise of violence. But different states with higher levels of household gun ownership have higher rates of firearm homicide.

Anyone can be affected by firearm violence, but in certain situations gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color, women and other marginalized groups in society. Certainly, the killer in most cases is being affected by a motive that somehow make them feel victimized in some fashion by society.

Previous violence is the only evidence-based predictor of future violence. So, it is critical that the public and policymakers stop responding to gun violence and mass shootings with statements that mental health conditions are the underlying cause.

The reason why a shooting takes place is different than the reason of why most of our people think that we can solve problems with violence. However, what we can identify is that if we want the problem to be solved, we need to work together as a nation to set awareness towards the correct audience.

Dice Roller

Quite often, mass shootings reignite the debate over gun control in the United States. Do we need more gun control in the U.S.?

When we mention gun control, it's essential to acknowledge that we are not talking about elimination the use of guns.

Having more gun control only means having stricter laws and more security with gun transactions to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from purchasing weapons. It also means limiting the types of firearms citizens can buy. For example, most people say they need guns for personal protection, but no civilian needs an automatic assault rifle to defend themselves. For self-defense purposes, a normal handgun should be sustainable.

No other democracy in the world experiences this level of gun violence. That’s because other free nations have tough gun laws to deal with this problem.

Gun control make us believe that limiting access to guns will save lives and reduce crime.

Although gun control reduces gun violence, it doesn't erase total violence from the area. Reducing the incidence of gun violence will require interventions through multiple systems, including legal, public health, public safety, community and health.

Whether gun violence can be premeditated, spontaneous or impulsive, we should target the roots of violence to prevent and to decrease the number of homicides happening because of gun violence in the city.

Community Coming Together

Being an important issue in the life of the citizens of Rochester, politics plays its role.

Many groups, plans and policies have been developed and implanted in our community to fight the problem.

Take the ROC Against Gun Violence Coalition project, developed by the administration of Mayor Lovely Warren. The coalition seeks to end gun violence in Rochester by bringing attention to the causes and effects of gun violence, as well as promoting quality of life in Rochester's neighborhoods.

Some ways this project seeks to improve Rochester's quality of life is through educating our youth. They utilize their program by promoting awareness in the community of the dangers and collateral effects of gun violence. Additionally, the plan consists of encouraging individuals to engage in diversion programs that lead to positive outcomes. Some of these programs include — but aren't limited to — education, awareness and prevention. These programs are specifically targeted towards their families and neighborhoods.

Other anti-violence programs, such as the Buyback Program, have been raised by the local government.

This program allows gun owners to trade their firearms to government entities for cash. In this particular case, it also acts as an amnesty program. No identification is needed and no questions will be asked of the person dropping off the firearm.

“Getting guns off our streets must be a priority,” Mayor Warren said in a statement, after establishing the city's new buyback program.

“Getting guns off our streets must be a priority.”

Violence in Rochester

Mark's Texas Hots is known not only for their food, but also through the continuous gun violence that occurs around its establishment.

It has become common to see yellow warning tape due to the number of crimes that happen in that corner, such as the events of 2014, 2016 and 2021.

Sadly, this is not the only restaurants plagued by violence in the city. Thurston Road, a street along Rochester's 19th ward, is infamous for its daily violence. Violence is so ordinary to the point where if someone hears a gunshot on the road, they shrug it off, as the sound is almost as common as birds.

A Toxic Future

Guns are an integral part of American culture. The problem is that these weapons are providing far too many Americans with the opportunity to harm others. Even more, the accessibility of guns are unbelievable. The U.S. has more guns per capita than residents of any other country.

The U.S. has roughly one gun for every citizen. At the other extreme, Japan has less than one gun per 100 people.

The focus must be towards spreading awareness and developing constant efforts to make the products safer and to limit access by people who are most likely to misuse them.

More broadly, preventing gun-related injuries and deaths is a collective, social responsibility.

Gun control is one solution to this problem. However, if we also come together as a community, concentrating efforts on education and support centers for the disenfranchised, we can slowly lower the violence that has been plaguing our nation.