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As Gun Violence Increases, Families Of Victims Feel Their Loved Ones Are Being Treated As Case Numbers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- People are looking for answers as gun violence happens on the streets.

"It has to start at the legislative level. It seems like no matter how many people are murdered, they don't want to change the laws," said Debra Germany, who lost her son to gun violence.

July marks 20 years since Germany's son, Raymond, was gunned down in the Hill District. With each passing year, the pain does not lessen.

"Cut down in the prime of his life. And every time I see another shooting on TV, it's tearing a scab off a wound because I know what those families are feeling," Germany said.

Barbie Sampson is searching for answers, too.

"I feel like my daughter's case is just a case number. I get it the police are so overwhelmed with all these shootings that are going on. But to me, she's not a case number," Sampson said.

Nearly four weeks ago, her daughter Jasmine Guest was shot and killed in a car on the Parkway East. While she waits for any leads or justice, she's also looking at the bigger issue.

"I don't believe in taking away the right to bear arms, but I just don't understand how these kids — who are the age of 15 — are getting these guns. I don't understand it. I think it starts with legislation down to the parents," Sampson said.

CeaseFirePA is currently pushing for legislation that could help get those guns off the streets.

"Between 2012 and 2017, there were almost 44,000 lost and stolen guns just in the state of Pa. and we know these guns often end up being used in crimes," said Josh Fleitman with CeaseFirePA.

House Bill 980 would require any lost or stolen gun to be reported. While it's minor when it comes to gun reform, the organization believes it's the first step to saving lives.

"We know that states without the lost and stolen guns requirement, more illegal guns across the country are coming from those states," Fleitman said.

KDKA did reach out to a number of Republican lawmakers in the Judiciary Committee and gun rights advocates for comment on this bill, but no one was available on Wednesday.

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