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CLEVELAND -- Their rallying phrase: Our united power builds a Greater Cleveland.

It's strength in numbers. It's getting loud enough to get something done.

The Greater Cleveland Congregations pulls people from more than 30 faith groups to make change from the ground up with one new goal: stopping illegal guns.

In a room of several hundred people Thursday, only a few could say they haven't seen the impact of gun violence.

"I've seen a dozen people shot, six shot and killed," said Cleveland resident Brandon Copleland. "Growing up on Wade Park, you become numb to it, you accept the unacceptable...[Guns are] all over the place, and now a days people shoot first and ask questions later."

There've been more than 40 shooting deaths already this year across Cuyahoga County.

The youngest of them is 5-year-old Jermani Brooks, who was killed in a driveby shooting in January. "Jermani's kindergarten class has had a difficult time with her death," said her teacher at RG Jones School Laura Urbanek.

"We have seen this over and over and over. The feds are not going to act. The state is not going to act. It's up to us to get something done," said Donna Wineberger, a local therapist who serves as co-chair for GCC's Gun Violence Team.

Months of research by Wineberger and the rest of the team identified a problem with gun supply. They heard it both in ancedotes, like Pastor Richard Gibson of Elizabeth Baptist Church shared Thursday. A child Gibson tutors told him he could get a gun in less than 10 minutes, with as little as $50.

Using data provided by Cleveland Police, GCC found 30 percent of crime guns are traced back to just three gun dealers. The other sources are straw purchases, stolen weapons and trafficked ones.

"They're too easy to come by," said Lovia Carter, a victim herself. Carter told WKYC's Sara Shookman that God saved her life from a gunshot wound years ago.

And to hear of gun violence now: " It makes me angry," she said. "I'm still afraid of guns."

GCC is suggesting a county-wide initiative that pull federal, county and city leaders together to squeeze the pipeline of illegal guns and hold people accountable.

The rallying cry was repeated in unison Thursday, "We cannot stand idly by."

The sheriff's office has already committed to meeting with GCC leaders before June 30.

GCC also addressed what they call Cuyahoga County's "felon factory" Thursday. They urged prosecutors to save prison time for violent criminals and seek misdeameanor charges and other methods, like rehabilitation for drug crimes.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty spoke in response to these requests, saying the focus of his office will be "serious offenders," and the office has tripled the number of drug cases it sends to diversion programs.

He said those changes could help filter down to create a stronger and more attractive region.

"When we have better justice, this will be a better place to raise our families and the exodus will end," said McGinty.

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