Roanoke anti-gun violence efforts could set example statewide amid rise in gun violence

Gun violence prevention efforts are something the city has been working on for some time

ROANOKE, Va. – As the nation works to address a spike in mass shootings, the City of Roanoke is laying the groundwork on how communities can address gun violence in their cities.

Discussing gun violence is not a new concept here in Roanoke, the city has seen its own spike in shootings over the past couple of years.

“We have a gun violence problem in this country and in this Commonwealth,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said.

But these are conversations Roanoke City Council member Joe Cobb has been having for years.

“A lot of it comes back to education, to creating safer neighborhoods, and all of the things that go into that Roanoke City Councilor Joe Cobb said.

Cobb has been an active leader in several city-wide efforts looking at what causes gun violence, including the newly formed Gun Violence Prevention Commission.

“Bringing about nonviolent peaceful ways that empower people of all ages to make decisions nonviolently workout, arguments, nonviolently,” Cobb said.

Now the city is setting an example statewide.

Monday Attorney General Mark Herring hosted a round table featuring local activists to discuss what can be done to curb the uptick in violence.

Advocates say they plan on fighting for funding to have a statewide commission that would be similar to Roanoke’s.

“We can raise the level of interest, and, you know, perhaps what could an office of gun violence prevention at the state level,” Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence Lori Haas said.

Cobb says the impacts of gun violence can be felt in every corner of the community, and the sooner the issue is resolved, the sooner everyone can heal.

“We all want to live in a safe environment, and every time there’s an act of gun violence and shatters,” Cobb said.

The Gun Violence Prevention Commission plans to have a busy summer out in the community evaluating the city’s gun violence and talking to community members about what can be done to address it.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.