NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Wear Orange Weekend runs through Sunday and is part of National Gun Violence Awareness day on June 2.
This year, New Orleans city leaders and medical professionals gathered at City Hall for a mid-day program.
City Council President J.P. Morrell touted new laws in the city that hold gunowners responsible if a child gets hold of their firearm and someone gets hurt. But Morrell also expressed frustration that state and federal lawmakers aren’t doing more to reduce gun violence.
“It is disheartening that we are constantly as a city running behind the gun violence problem because we are powerless due to preemption from the state and national government not letting us do what’s necessary to make people truly safe like banning assault weapons,” Morrell told the crowd.
Morrell also used the Wear Orange event to push for legal action against gun owners and manufacturers. “Until we make gun owners and gun companies own responsibility for profiting off the violence and misery of others, we’ll never solve the underlying problem.”
Other speakers from the medical community pitched other possible solutions. Dr. Jennifer Avegno, the New Orleans Health Department Director, revealed the return of the Violence Interrupter program at University Medical Center. Avegno is also an emergency room physician and told the crowd that the program has been revamped but still needs approval from the city council.
“If we could get that contract signed in the next week, I know the plan is there, and everybody is more than ready to go,” Avegno said as she smiled and looked over her shoulder at Morrell.
Avegno also mentioned free gun safety training and gun locks that the city has been offering for gun owners.
But perhaps the most unique idea came from Tulane and UMC trauma surgeon Dr. Sharven Taghavi who suggested that people might be more inclined to get involved in the fight to reduce gun violence if they had to see it up-close as he does.
“For people who don’t see those everyday like I do, it’s absolutely shocking what a bullet can do to a human body,” Taghavi told the crowd. “Those pictures, images, are never shown on TV here on the news. And I think there’s more than a handful that believe that we should show those pictures because it gives truth to how destructive gun violence can be.”
For more on the Wear Orange Weekend event at New Orleans City Hall, watch the video at the top of this story.