Gov. Matt Bevin said Tuesday that escalating gun violence in Louisville and Lexington has his attention.
“I do intend to weigh in on this,” the Republican governor said during a wide-ranging news conference. He called gun violence in Kentucky’s two largest cities “heartbreaking,” noting that innocent bystanders have been affected.
Louisville this week recorded its 107th homicide of the year. Two people were killed and five were injured in a Thanksgiving shooting near an annual football event in Louisville. In Lexington, 14-year-old Angel Juarez was shot Thanksgiving night when he answered the door of his house. Last month, 15-year-old Trinity Gay, daughter of Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, was shot and killed outside a Lexington restaurant.
Bevin said he has talked to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray about the violence.
“This has to be addressed. It will be addressed one way or another,” Bevin said. “Time is of the essence. It’s a life-and-death situation.”
But Bevin, who opposes restrictions to the 2nd Amendment that provides gun rights, said “the answer is not necessarily a legislative one.”
“You have a cultural problem, you have a spiritual problem, you have an economic problem. That’s what you have, period,” he said. “People who want to pretend it’s something that can be legislated, some more government rules are going to fix this, are delusional. We don’t need more government rules to fix this. We need to address the root causes of this.”
Bevin added: “It’s going to take a community that does some serious soul-searching and asks itself the hard questions. It takes ownership of this and heals itself from within.”