'There's hopelessness operating in our city': Gun Violence Task Force listens to concerned citizens

Task force spent an hour hearing suggestions from Roanoke residents

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke residents fed up with gun violence let out their frustrations Thursday night.

The city's Gun Violence Task Force invited citizens to approach city council's chambers and share their ideas and concerns on how to make Roanoke more peaceful.

"If you're really serious about stopping gun violence, there are some simple things we can do right now," said Martin Jeffrey, a Roanoke resident who addressed the task force. "While this task force is meeting, people are dying in the street. Do it right now."

The ideas varied from focusing more on Roanoke's neighborhood issues to promoting concealed carry weapons.

Former United States attorney and Roanoke resident, John Fishwick, also offered up his assistance. He told the task force about a program he promoted while federal attorney that taught children to stay away from guns.

"If I can save one life, if I can get through to one child, then I'll speak to a million kids," Fishwick said.

Roanoke mayor Sherman Lea says the meeting showed him that his constituents want action against gun violence sooner rather than later.

"We have to do action, and there's going to be action," Lea said. "This council is determined to do that, that's why we brought this task force together."

However, some residents such as Jeffrey told the task force they're tired of waiting.

"There's hopelessness operating in our city," Jeffrey said. "It's not just about the people shooting other people, it's about the people shooting themselves."

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