CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago residents gave emotional testimonies to congressional leaders about the impact of gun violence in their communities on Thursday.
For the first time, a subcommittee for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a field hearing about the public health threat of gun violence.
"We are here to treat for what it is, an epidemic," said Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, of California.
The congressional subcommittee met with hundreds of people at Kennedy-King College in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.
Those testifying told stories - often personal - of gun violence and what needs to be done to prevent it.
The hearing was briefly interrupted by a man who complained about who was asked to testify. He was escorted out of the hearing.
"The Chicago police has to sit down with the community, for real, and not try to exploit us," said Paul McKinley.
Congressional members heard frustrations and pain from those who testified.
"We don't have an outlet for our kids. There's nowhere for our kids to go to be safe," said Sharmika Arline.
Democratic Rep. Danny Davis said, "We have no alternative, except to find better ways to deal with this crisis."
Now the subcommittee will consider ways for the federal government to offer options and support to try to ease the pain and suffering.
Congressional leaders hold Chicago hearing on public health threat of gun violence