Gun violence plaguing nation, but not in Greene County

Across the nation and the state, gun violence is on the rise. However, data shows that Greene County remains largely unscathed by the nationwide epidemic. Coroner Gene Rush said there were three gun-related deaths in the county last year, all ruled suicide by his office. Rush said there were no homicides in the county in 2018. Rush, who spent 44 years in the funeral business before his retirement, said gun-related deaths have never been a problem in the county. “It is very minimal,” Rush said. “Our county is very fortunate.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called gun violence “the leading contributor to premature death in the United States.” Their numbers report that nationwide, deaths from gun violence jumped from 38,658 in 2016 to 39,773 in 2017. Across the state, gun-related deaths jumped from 1,555 in 2016 to 1,636 in 2017. Yet in Greene County, with an estimated population of 36,770, the local police say they don’t see much in the way of firearm-related deaths. Waynesburg police Chief Rob Toth said the department had more than 1,000 reported incidents last year. “We are busy. We’ve had a high number of domestics and drug arrests, but not particularly guns,” Toth said. “Right now, we’ve been pretty lucky. We do everything we can to be visible.” That’s not to say that residents in the county aren’t exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms. The county sheriff’s office reported 1,380 concealed carry permits were purchased in 2018. The […]

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