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Kalamazoo mayor: A year later, mass shooting has had little impact on larger gun violence debate

flowers in tree with police tape
File photo: A makeshift memorial near one of the shooting scenes in Kalamazoo near a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

One year ago today, Kalamazoo found itself in the cross hairs of gun violence. Jason Dalton is charged with the shooting spree that left six people dead and two badly wounded.

Tonight, the city will remember those victims and survivors with a candlelight vigil.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell joined Stateside to talk about how the city of Kalamazoo is doing and how the shootings changed the people who live there. 
"I think it made us understand that we don't live in a bubble," said Hopewell. "I think there's certainly a better understanding that gun violence and mass gun violence can happen anywhere and that we really need to be more cognizant to start thinking about what we can do to decrease the occurrences. What we need to do to prepare for an event like this and how do we support those that are hurting."

When a shooting occurs in the United States, it often facilitates a larger conversation about gun violence and what can be done to prevent it, or at least reduce it.

Hopewell says the Kalamazoo shooting did start a conversation on the local level, but it hasn't made much of an impact.

"I would say, sadly, that these events haven't done what they need to do," said Hopewell. "I think locally, more conversation and discussion and engagement around gun violence [have taken place] because we're an urban core community.... What I'm concerned with is that, from a national perspective, and even from a state perspective, we seem to be going in the opposite direction of ... keeping us more safe and helping us really deal with how do we access guns, what are our expectations of those that have them. I think there's reasonable things we can do and also protect the Second Amendment."

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about the victims and the survivors of the shooting, an update on the legal proceedings for Jason Dalton, and the discussion about the possibility of building a memorial in the city of Kalamazoo.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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