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Gun violence prevention groups put out community call to action

The Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action say that now is the time to have difficult conversations at home and with local legislators.

Both the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action say that now is the time to act by having difficult conversations at home, in our neighborhoods and over the phone with local legislators.

After hearing about the role the alleged shooter's parents potentially played in the Oxford school shooting, Moms Demand Action Volunteer Annie Vandenberg was disturbed. 

"The onus is on adults," she says. "That is why we have to bow as the adults in these children's life and make sure that we step up and be the responsible people."

RELATED: Parents of Oxford shooting suspect charged with involuntary manslaughter

Through her work with the organization, she says that responsibility starts with safe gun storage and making sure your family, friends and neighbors are all on the same page.

"If it gets to the point where we're only showing children how to run, hide or fight from guns, we're late. So we need to work in prevention and keeping the guns out of the hands of these children who should not have them," Vandenberg says.

On the other hand, Christopher Smith, the board chair person with the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, says there needs to be action and discussion at a higher level. 

"There would be value, it seems, to have laws focused on making it harder for teens and kids to acquire them," he says. 

RELATED: U-M expert: Preventing a school shooting | 'Secure firearms in home, help students and staff recognize distress signs'

He says working on common ground laws about background checks, ammunition and firearm availability and rules on storage in Michigan is important, but it is difficult for legislators to work across the aisle.

"We also know that the states that have stronger laws require people to lock up guns at home and holding them accountable with potential punishments have reductions in accidental shootings against children," Smith says.

But with polarizing opinions about gun control, he's not optimistic that this moment in Michigan history could mean new legislature.

"My optimism is that this reminds the public that they need to contact their legislators and let them know how they feel," he says.

Smith hopes this moment doesn't fade because he says unfortunately many people have developed a numbness in response to mass shootings.

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