Organizations take aim at gun violence in San Antonio

Fraternity, gun control group hold gun violence town hall

WINDCREST, Texas – It takes less than a second to pull a trigger, and a lifetime to deal with the aftermath.

Marilyn Yearley-Perez has been carrying the weight of her son Ryan Yearley's death since he was shot on Thanksgiving 2012 by his girlfriend's brother.

"Losing him five years ago doesn't change anything," she said. "It doesn't change the hurt. It's still senseless whether it was yesterday or five years ago.

At a town hall meeting Saturday in a Windcrest church, Yearley-Perez shared her story in the hope of moving toward solutions for gun violence.

"(Yearley's killer) was able to buy a shotgun, and from five feet away, he took out my son in his own living room," she told KSAT after her remarks.

The event was organized by the Delta Rho Lambda chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.

Coming on the heels of the deadliest year in San Antonio in two decades, the goal of the meeting was to figure out what could be done about gun violence, and also how to get people involved.

"We don't want to get rid of guns at all," said Eric Moore, the Delta Rho Lambda chapter president. "I mean, I own a gun. We just want to have more gun sense."

In 2016, 151 people were killed as a result of violent crime, though not all were from guns. The number was a 61 percent jump from 2015 and was said to be the highest since 1995.

With this fact in the back of everyone's minds, a panel of community, religious, former law enforcement and academic members talked about gun violence issues and answered questions from the audience.

"Hopefully, we can come up with some solutions and actions," said Lisa Epstein, Moms Demand Action Texas Chapter co-leader.

Epstein's group has its own agenda that it plans to take up to Austin during this legislative session.

While at the meeting, Moore said they hoped to address certain gun laws.

"To really address what can we do here in the local community and what can we on the state level in Texas, and then ultimately what can we do on the federal side in order to enact real change," Moore said.

Neither group was talking about quick fixes, but they both seemed optimistic about making changes because more violence means more pain.

"It's not something that just goes away just cause they're not here and the funeral's over," Yearley-Perez said.

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