Oakland CountyAugust 07, 2013
Public input wanted on county’s curbing gun violence report
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
OAKLAND COUNTY — Officials are looking to the public for suggestions on how to curb gun violence in Oakland County.
Following mass murders in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., two members of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners — Democrat Marcia Gershenson and Republican Bill Dwyer — formed an Oakland County study group earlier this year to search for solutions to gun violence and inefficiencies in background checks.
“I feel that we all are Sandy Hook, we all are Newtown — those kind of tragedies could happen anywhere, so when I was able to form a partnership with Commissioner Dwyer to look at this issue, I thought it was a great opportunity,” Gershenson said.
The committee, dubbed the Public Services Committee, held five televised hearings focusing on several different fields of expertise and facets of gun-violence prevention — including local law enforcement, school superintendents, federal law enforcement, mental health care, and gun rights and responsibilities.
“During all these hearings, there was a common theme, and that was the need for greater resources to fulfill the mission,” Dwyer explained.
Following the hearings, the committee created a Gun Violence Report, which lists a number of recommendations designed to keep Oakland County residents safe.
“The recommendations we made are not meant to be a wholesale solution for the prevention of gun violence, but it does give some insight into the current practices,” Dwyer said.
Now that the report — presented to the Board of Commissioners last month — is complete, Dwyer and Gershenson are asking the public to examine it and offer their insight by visiting www.oakgov.com/boc and clicking on the report and the survey link after.
“We put the report out there with the recommendations, and now we want to hear from the public, as far as their thoughts, or maybe something we missed that our study group can go back and encompass into our recommendations that we first made,” Dwyer said. “We’re getting some good feedback.”
Public safety, according to Gershenson, is the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ No. 1 concern.
“We do everything we can to keep our public safe,” she said. “We are going to be looking at the data that we collected and trying to implement changes in Oakland County and make recommendations to the state.”
“We’ve been dealing with gun violence for many decades, and it’s a problem that’s not going to be solved overnight,” Dwyer added. “There is no easy solution.”
Staff Writer Eric Czarnik contributed to this report.