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Members Of Local Jewish Community Push For Stricter Gun Laws, In Memory Of Shooting Victims

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)-- Progressive community groups including Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh and Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence are using this anniversary to push for popular gun laws.

To their dismay, no gun laws have been voted on in Washington or Harrisburg in the year since the tree of life killings.

Eleven chairs sat empty at a sad memorial on the North Shore Thursday afternoon.

It was one chair for each victim who died at the tree of life synagogue.

And there is much anger and anguish over the fact that politicians can't agree on gun control measures.

"I am angry that it has been a year since my synagogue was attacked by a man with assault-style weapons, who murdered 11 of my fellow congregants, and in the bloody year since our tragedy...there has been gun massacre after gun massacre," said Dana Kellerman, member of Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence.

The groups are calling for several laws they say have widespread popularity.

Among the proposed laws are stringent background checks, an extreme risk law that takes guns away from people displaying dangerous behavior, plus a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Pennsylvania State Senator Wayne Fontana is sponsoring an extreme risk law, but it's going nowhere in the legislature.

"[It] Would empower families and police officers to petition a court to temporarily remove, temporarily remove, firearms from someone who is a threat to themselves or others," said Senator Fontana.

For these champions of gun reform, it's an issue that cuts through all barriers.

Reverend Glenn Grayson, of Wesley Center AME Zion Church, has a strong connection to this reform after losing a son to gun violence.

"A bullet has no respect of person. Black, white, red, yellow, gay, straight, gentile, Jew, rich or poor," said Reverend Grayson.

And it's not just the mass shootings they're concerned about. It's the shootings that happen every day-- Including the number one cause of gun deaths: suicide.

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