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Karen Scullin ReportingThe fight against gun violence has just taken a big leap forward. Today a major media campaign got underway for the federally funded Project Safe Neighborhoods.
Members of local and federal law enforcement say this isn't about being anti-gun, but anti-gun violence. Violent crime in Utah has gone up this year; police and prosecutors say it's time for a change.
Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr was off-duty when he answered a call for a domestic dispute. When he arrived to the scene, he was shot and killed by Lee Roy Wood. Today Gurr's wife praised the anti-gun violence effort called Project Safe Neighborhood.
Lynette Gurr, Chief Gurr's Wife: "It has brought me peace to know that the man who did this to us will be behind bars for the rest of his life."
Project Safe Neighborhood is fueled by disturbing statistics. In 2000, 193 people died from firearm-related injuries in Utah. In 2002 guns were used in 51 percent of homicides in Utah. And so far in the first quarter of this year there have been 422 weapon-related offenses.
Lynette Gurr: “Young people, the decisions that you make at this time affect not only you, but they affect those that love you."
Today Lynette Gurr and members of law enforcement helped to kick off a new media campaign for the project. You'll soon see Public Service Announcements on billboards, radio and television.
The ads are aimed at raising awareness on the consequences of all gun violence, but they also offer a major warning for convicted felons caught with guns: Federal prison is waiting.
Paul Warner, U.S. Attorney for Utah: “We tell 'em, don't do it. Because if you do, and you get caught--and you will get caught--we're coming after you."
This program is funded federally, but has city, state, and federal members of law enforcement working together.