ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - U.S. Attorney John Fishwick Jr. is encouraging students to make a pledge against gun violence.
Fishwick and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives talked to kids at Patrick Henry High School on Friday about guns and violence in the area.
He asked them to sign a pledge committing themselves to ending gun violence in their school, community and across the country.
The pledge consists of vowing to never taking a gun to school, never using a gun to settle a personal problem or dispute and using their influence with friends to help them do the same.
Fishwick said reducing gun violence is one of his top priorities.
"I certainly believe it makes a difference. If I spend time with this and we can convince one student not to make a bad decision with a gun, we can potentially save one life. Then it's worth all the effort were taking. And that's how I view it. That's the best way to try to impact lives," he said.
Fishwick asked the auditorium full of students if they had heard of a student who had been suspended for taking a s gun to school, if they'd ever heard gun shots in their community and if they knew of anyone who had ever been shot. Dozens of students raised their hands.
Fishwick and the others will talk to more students throughout the Western District about taking the pledge over the next two weeks.
The Student Pledge Against Gun Violence is a national initiative, held in conjunction with the National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence on October 19. It honors the role that people, through their own decisions, can play in reducing gun violence. The initiative provides a means for teachers and community leaders to speak to young people about gun violence, according to a news release from Fishwick.
More than 10 million students nationwide have taken the pledge since its inception in 1996.