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U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth pressed for more gun control legislation in a Louisville town hall Thursday night, charging that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “self-castrated” the United States Senate.

Yarmuth joined Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California and Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to push for federal and local gun control legislation. Several dozen people showed up, asking questions ranging from what legislation can address gun violence to whether legislators can legally take away guns.

crowd gathers before the gun violence town hall at Atherton High SchoolKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

crowd gathers before the gun violence town hall at Atherton High School

Yarmuth said proposals for a universal background check have broad support, but said advocates must press Senator McConnell to act on the legislation.

“He says, ‘I’m not going to pass anything the president won’t sign’…he has self-castrated the United States Senate,” Yarmuth said. “We need to keep the heat on him, I know he’s feeling it.”

U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth speaking at a gun violence town hall at Atherton High SchoolKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth speaking at a gun violence town hall at Atherton High School

Geneva Robinson, director of the Centerstone crisis and information center drew a connection between guns and mental health. She said suicide is influenced by how easily someone can get to a gun.

“We, who are providers have to get out and advocate for actual legal answers to this — things that can actually put infrastructure in place that can save lives,” Robinson said. “So the fact that we’re able to talk about this and that gun violence is one of the primary contributing factors to these deaths really makes a difference.”

Geneva Robinson, director of the Centerstone crisis and information center, speaking after a gun violence town hall about the intersection of guns and mental healthKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Geneva Robinson, director of the Centerstone crisis and information center, speaking after a gun violence town hall about the intersection of guns and mental health

A report by the nonprofit, Foundation For A Healthy Kentucky, found 64 percent of Kentucky adults keep loaded guns in or around their homes without locking them, creating opportunities for accidental shootings or suicides. 

Yarmuth said proposals requiring gun owners to lock their weapons is not likely to pass.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.