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Energy And Commerce Committee Hosts Hearing On Gun Violence At Kennedy-King College

10/9/2019, noon | Updated on 10/9/2019, noon
The Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a field hearing in ...
Spencer Leak, Sr., president and CEO of Leak and Sons Funeral Home, recently spoke about gun violence during a field hearing hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee. Photo Credit: U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee

Energy And Commerce Committee Hosts Hearing On Gun Violence At Kennedy-King College

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

The Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a field hearing in the Great Hall of Kennedy-King College, 6301 S. Halsted St., in Englewood. The hearing was entitled “A Public Health Crisis: The Gun Violence Epidemic in America” and was called to discuss gun violence as a public health threat in the United States.

“I think this collective heartbreak will move us to work with real purpose. We are here to treat America’s gun violence for what it is, an epidemic. We know that to treat an epidemic, we have to study it, we have to understand what works to prevent it, and we need to learn how to treat the trauma that is caused by it,” said Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), chairwoman from the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

A memorandum from the Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), was released a few days before the field hearing was held and stated that “every day, 100 Americans are killed on average by a firearm. Hundreds more Americans are shot and injured daily.”

The memorandum went on to state several other statistics that have led the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health to begin looking at gun violence as a public health issue including that “the homicide rate in the United States is more than 25 times the average of other developed nations,” and that “the United States has more mass shootings than any country in the world.”

The recent field hearing at Kennedy-King College included members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee along with testimony from Chicagoans who shared their perceptions on gun violence.

“Together, we have to restitch our broken safety net, we have to work on providing wrap-around services and job training in the neighborhoods that have been underside and economically distressed for decades, we recognize the fact that this will not be solved overnight. By investing in neighborhoods and addressing the root causes of violence, we can continue to make gains in public safety in communities throughout the city, said Norman Kerr, director of Violence Prevention for the City of Chicago.

While the issue of gun violence has persisted across the nation and in the City of Chicago, Spencer Leak, Sr., president and CEO of Leak and Sons Funeral Home located on 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave., gave testimony during the hearing about the changes in violence that he has seen first hand over the years as a funeral director on the south side of Chicago.

Leak said that violence has become more random with children being struck by stray bullets and perpetrators of gun violence having no relationship or connection to the victims of their senseless acts.

“There is no longer a relationship between the perpetrator and the victim,” said Leak. “It is random violence that plagues us now.”

This was the first hearing that the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health has held on the topic of gun violence as a public health epidemic.

To learn more and to watch a full video of the hearing visit www.energycommerce.house.gov.