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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This week, the U.S. Senate voted to block a bill that would have expanded background checks for firearm sales. Now Louisville community leaders are speaking out about the vote, with many saying the blockage is only a minor set back.
Louisville leaders were gathered at the Kentucky Science Center Sunday for a screening of the documentary Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence.
"Every time I see a shooting, I know there is a mother, I know there is a father, I know there is a child, I know there is a teacher, an E.R. surgeon, and all these people who are affected by the ripple affect of gun violence," said film maker David Barnhart, who is touring the country with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hoping to get people talking.
"We talk about the massive shootings that happen every now and then, but we don't talk about the gun violence that is happening everyday," said Barnhart.
A screening of his documentary Trigger attracted a handful of local leaders more than willing to talk about Louisville's history with gun violence.
"It's happening repeatedly that I'm seeing people that are scared to come outside, senior citizens who are nervous and concerned for their lives, young kids who are fearful of their lives," said Reverend Vincent James of Elim Baptist Church. He says he has heard gun shots while driving the streets, and even faced the effects of gun violence head on.
Louisville's police chief says he and other city officials are working to make Louisville the safest city in the United States, but the gun culture in Kentucky is hard to alter.
"To make Louisville a truly safe community, we have to change the way we think about firearms," said LMPD Chief Steve Conrad.
Conrad says the city there have already been 11 homicides in Louisville this year, nine of which involved guns.
"This last year we had 62 homicides in our city, 85% of them were committed by someone using a gun," said Conrad.
Violence experienced in communities like Louisville, and in large scale massacres like the one in Newtown, CT have encouraged a revitalized debate on gun laws in our country.
Just this past Wednesday, a bill that would expand background checks came up 16 votes short of passing the Senate. U.S. congressman John Yarmuth expressed extreme disappointment in the vote.
"I hope something stronger re-surfaces, but I would be satisfied with the bill that was defeated this week," said Yarmuth.
Conrad says he wants to see legislation that will help his officers and the community stay safe, while maintaining second amendment freedoms.
"There are so many things we can do that don't involve the fear some people have about infringing on second amendment rights," says Conrad.
Reverend Vincent James was also disappointed in the vote, saying this is not a partisan issue.
"It's not a Republican or Democratic issue, it's a people issue," said the Louisville pastor.