At a time when the national debate on gun control has reached a fever pitch, Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans is arguing that the problem requires a much broader solution.
“It is about guns, but it’s not just about guns,” said Landrieu on NewsNation Thursday. “Let’s zero in on the problem. The problem is young men who know each other, using guns to kill each other because they don’t know how to resolve differences.”
According to the New Orleans Police Department, 193 people were murdered in 2012, making it the third deadliest city in the U.S. Much of that violence was gang related and involved the use of illegal guns.
In order to combat this murder epidemic, Landrieu said, lawmakers and law enforcement need to adopt an expansive approach–one that includes multi-agency gang units, giving U.S. prosecutors the authority to go after illegal guns, promoting awareness early on in school to the dangers of gun and gang-related violence, preventing teen pregnancy, and making sure mental health issues don’t go untreated.
“All of those things are part of the Molotov cocktail that’s created this culture of violence on the street,” said Landrieu. “One thing we have to do is avoid the need and the desire to jump in and just make this a one-dimensional issue; it’s not.”