NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A few hundred people helped the Norfolk Police Department kicked off their first “Guns Down” event in the Olde Huntersville neighborhood on Sunday.
The event was the first in a series of conversations that the department plans to have with the community.
Those conversations will revolve around gun ownership and the gun violence plaguing Hampton Roads.
Norfolk Police Chief Boone says these events are key to addressing gun violence, but, more importantly, he says the people who are using the guns need to be addressed.
“I am so sick and tired of doing community gatherings, vigils, you guys on the news every night somebody shot across Hampton Roads and nobody saying anything, it’s become like okay there is another one, so it’s frustrating,” said Boone at the event.
The series is the first of its kind in Norfolk, and across the region.
The community engagement is spearheaded by Boone to increase the community’s awareness about the hazards of gun violence through outreach in a fun-filled family environment, packed with music, fun, and opportunities for education, employment and hope.
They completed a study recently on guns recovered from violent crimes in 2017.
“Most of the guns that were recovered or were used in a crime were purchased legally in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. But also, more importantly, 88 percent of those guns ended up in the hands of someone that did not originally purchase the weapon,” Boone said.
Boone says he can’t make permanent changes alone. “…until there is some responsible parenting, responsible mentoring. Everybody has to roll their sleeves up and take part in this.”
On Sunday, that was in the form of good food and community fun. But tomorrow, it’s just like every other day.