ROANOKE, Va. – Gun violence continues to impact Southwest Virginia.
In response, Attorney General Mark Herring spoke with Roanoke leaders about how to prevent gun violence, especially among young people.
“They’ve been working on this issue, they have plans together, they’re working in collaboration with each other. I thought that was really powerful,” said Herring.
Roanoke’s Chief of Police, Sam Roman, shared the ways his officers try to be involved in the community to gain people’s trust. He says they work with schools to educate students about the dangers of guns and violence, echoing the need for collaboration.
“It’s not an overnight solution. It’s an over year, and in some cases, years solution. I’m confident in what I saw, I’m not surprised by what I saw today, because what I like about the region is we are always willing to come together, partner and move the needle forward towards the solution,” said Chief Roman.
Along with collaboration is the need for funding. Roanoke recently received two grants from the Department of Justice, one of which helped to support last week’s gun buyback program which officials think is a step in the right direction.
“How easily accessible guns are for our youth and how to address that. We have to do some work on researching how kids are getting access to guns. giving kids safe opportunities to turn those in,” said Roanoke city council member, Joe Cobb.
City leaders are hoping for additional, long-term funding to come from the AG’s office that was awarded $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to help with gun violence prevention programs.