‘Put the guns down’: Local leaders ask community to stop gun violence

MADISON, Wis.– Madison Common Council President Sheri Carter spoke directly to the city’s youth when she asked them to choose a path less violent at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We are not ignoring you. We care about your future, but the path that some of you are taking will lead you to death or prison,” Carter said. “This is a path that the community standing here today cannot accept for your future.”

It’s a path that Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney said leads to a whole community of hurt.

“I have been crying for our community, I have been crying for the families that have been touched by this, and yes, I have even been crying for the gun-toting, shooting ones, as well,” Harrington-McKinney said.

The community is asking for action at the city and county levels that give the youth options other than violence.

“You get a blue ribbon committee together and then it goes on the shelf, and it’s costing people their lives,” James Morgan of Just Dane said.

Morgan is calling for leaders in the community to step up and help the youth see that a brighter future is achievable.

“Now to my men, my fellow Black men in this community, let’s stop being invisible,” Morgan said. “They need to see us. They need to know that change is possible.”

Carter said the city won’t tolerate the behavior it’s currently seeing.

“For those choosing to continue the pattern of violence and gun violence, rest assured, as president of the Common Council, along with the rest of my coucilmen, we will back law enforcement investigations to hold you accountable for the gun violence,” Carter said.

These leaders said this can’t just be a conversation that happens after someone is stuck by a bullet, but rather a priority to put resources in place for the youth.