CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)–8.4 million Americans became first time gun owners in 2020 alone.
Ira Bishop, a local gun store owner in Champaign, said it makes an already tall task for local police forces even taller.
“I think with the way things are going in this country today,” Bishop said. “I don’t think there’s many people that’ll be willing to give up their guns.”
For bishop, it all comes down to protecting yourself.
“If you have someone trying to break into your door, especially if you live out in a county, it may take police 10-15 minutes to get there,” Bishop said. “By that time, someone could already be in your house.”
In Champaign County, Crime Stoppers is continuing their Illegal Gun Bounty reward program.
It encourages people to anonymously send tips about illegally owned firearms for a cash reward.
So far, they’ve taken 32 illegally owned guns off the streets.
The Champaign County N.A.A.C.P. President Minnie Pearson says she supports the county expanding that program, and introducing a local gun buyback program.
“Buy backs are one way of doing it,” Pearson said. “But there’s still more to be done.”
She said solving gun violence is going to take community effort by cooperating with local police and speaking up when you see something.
“We have to learn to protect our communities by saying we’re not going to tolerate this,” Pearson said. “If you’re hurting someone, or doing something illegal with a gun, we’re going to talk. I know there’s a risk to that, but there’s also a risk to being silent.”