Sen. Donnelly hears from murder victims' families about preventing crime

US Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly went on a ride-along with police Tuesday then followed that up with a public forum that night.

The purpose: giving victims and their families a voice to bring the dangers of the streets home.

One of those family members was Delise McDaniel. Her husband, Sam, was gunned down in his car Labor Day weekend 2011.

"I never, ever haven't thought of him," she said at the forum.

She wasn't alone with her story of pain. Another woman's child had been murdered; another's grandson was homicide victim number five this year.

They asked Sen. Donnelly for help - grants for more cops, more programs like Christamore House that keeps kids off the street, job training and better schools. They also asked for something to be done about illegal guns.

"I asked, 'Why are you packing?'" Delise said about a group of kids she saw hanging out on the street. "They're packing because the next man is packing."

"We have a problem with young people and guns," Donnelly agreed. "An extraordinary problem."

Donnelly said that's why he wants criminal background checks on sales at gun shows and a stepped-up attack on heroin, which is fueling street crime.

"How do we make it so that everyone has an opportunity to be safe in their front yard? To be able to barbecue in the back with their friends?" Donnelly said.

Delise suggested locking up kids with guns, not in prison but where they can learn job and life skills because that would give them "some type of hope."