Grand Haven discusses gun control

8:01 AM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) - A community group tried to turn their opposing opinion on gun control into action Thursday night.

The debate on guns has flared in the wake of last December's deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, with Congress set to debate new measures next month.

Anyone can have an opinion on guns and gun violence, but not everyone is willing to spend an evening calmly sharing ideas and views with the other side.

Thursday, the two sides sat with each other at the Grand Haven Community Center and shared a meal together. About 100 people with gun control opinions across the spectrum shared ideas, asked questions, and listened.

First to speak, a panel of community leaders.

"Gun ownership is a fundamental right. It is protected by law, and it is a good idea," said Steve Dulan of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners.

"I do have some concerns about individuals carrying weapons into our schools," followed Superintendent of Grand Haven Area Schools Keith Konarska.

Later, everyone was asked to break into smaller table discussions. WZZM 13 joined one.

"Guns to me are lethal. It is a death device," said Salle Haverkamp.

"To pose the question of how do we reduce gun violence, I think we have to understand how do we reduce violence using guns," said Phil Koster.

"If we have the ability to reduce even one or two people that die in the United States from un-just causes, we should do that," said Molly McGinnis.

Different demographics and ideas, helping everyone walk away from the meeting in a good mood; a common renewed belief, that even though opinions differed, everyone who showed up Thursday night, was there to make the community and country better.

Many of the ideas will be passed on to the forum organizers to be shared with more people at future events, and more local officials.

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