HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Community activists’ proposed solution to recent gun violence is a community-led patrol made up of legal gun owners. 

There have been 28 homicides in Hartford this year, many in the north end of the city.

Cornell Lewis, a gun owner and community activist, has proposed the idea that legal gun owners should band together to defend their neighborhoods. 

“We know what to do with our guns, when to do it and we know how to diffuse situations,” he said. “The thing we’re not going to allow is people to oppress the community.”

Lewis created the Self Defense Brigade, a group dedicated to protecting the community by using “appropriate means.” Over the past three years, the group has acted as security at Black Lives Matter protests, funerals and other community events. 

“It is better to defend ourselves,” Lewis said. “We have the right to. The Second Amendment says we can carry weapons, and we carry our weapons legally.”

The Self Defense Brigade and other gun-rights groups are planning to be at a rally on Sept. 2 to talk about this idea and to gauge interest. Lewis said a number of Hartford residents and people in other towns have expressed an interest in being involved. 

Jeremy Stein, the executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, said he understands that people want immediate solutions to violent crime. He believes an armed guard is not the safest option. 

“Adding more guns to our communities will not do a thing to end gun violence, it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s going to create a powder keg of gun violence,” he said. 

In a statement to News 8, Hartford’s Mayor Luke Bronin said:

I understand the frustration and anger, because I share that frustration and anger, and I feel the burden of responsibility personally and heavily, as do our police and everyone who does this work. Our first priority right now is to get the people responsible for the most recent shootings off of our streets, and we are working with law enforcement partners at every level, from the FBI, ATF, and DEA to state police and regional partners. We’ve seen a series of very different acts of violence in the past few weeks, some of which are intensely personal disputes, some of which appear to be spontaneous disputes that escalate quickly into gunfire, and some of which involve a specific group of very reckless and dangerous individuals that we are working hard with law enforcement at every level to apprehend.