Richmond leaders detail plan to combat gun violence

Combat Richmond Gun Violence Round Table.jpg
Posted at 8:38 PM, Apr 26, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released a report on Tuesday aimed at what he said will serve as the city's framework to address gun violence.

It has ties going back as far as 2018 and last year when city leaders declared it as a public health crisis.

"I know this has been a labor of love for a lot of you," Stoney said.

The report was shared on Tuesday in a room with the roughly two dozen stakeholders who helped make it. Stoney took time to praise them for their work.

"Because you all want to see a better and safer day in city of Richmond," Stoney said.

Calling it a "both/and" approach rather than an "either/or", Stoney said it uses city agencies, nonprofits and law enforcement.

"Us stemming the tide of gun violence will not be an overnight thing. It's going to take a number of organizations and the community working together to get this done," Stoney said.

Stoney said it's an overview of programs launched since 2018 and ones being looked at.

Stakeholders said a lot is directed at those between ten and 24, nothing that gun deaths for that group were three times the national average in 2017 and there were a record number of victims and arrests in that group in the city in 2021.

"What are those things that exist in our communities that put young people at greater risk of getting involved in these activities?" Torey Edmunds, a community youth engagement coordinator with VCU Health, said.

Among the prevention side of things, it mentions supporting mental health programs, youth violence prevention programs and youth-focused work development.

"Giving young people opportunities to engage in positive activities is a real solution to dealing with youth violence," Edmunds said.

While on the intervention side, the report includes violence interrupters, a homicide review committee and addressing the prevalence of guns in communities.

"You put all the root causes on the table. Put them all here, pile them all up and we're working on them. Which one and there's guns sitting right on top all of them," Lori Haas, an advocacy manager for Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said.



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