NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Stop the Violence Team has hosted rallies, walks, cookouts – but today, they sat down in a gymnasium with some of Norfolk’s top leaders to have a candid conversation about gun violence.

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Organizer Bilal Muhammad brought the panel together Saturday afternoon in The Kroc Center.

Among community members who came to ask questions, were several city leaders trying to answer them.

Kroc Center Hampton Roads to host panel discussion addressing violence

“We’ve taken guns off felons. We’ve taken guns off of folks as young as 11-years-old,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. “Hands aren’t even big enough to pull the trigger.” He went on to say part of it starts by tracking where these illegal guns are coming from.

For hours, they fielded questions from concerned citizens. How do we prevent gun violence? How do we keep guns from getting into the wrong hands?

“We’ve recovered 4,000 guns from the hands of someone else who orginally did not purchase the gun,” added Boone. “99% of our guns, give or take, are purchased at Bob’s Gun Shop and Superior Pawn in Virginia Beach.”

Wherever they’re coming from, councilwoman Danica Royster says another part of taking back the power in communities comes from having more people involved who are willing to take action.

“If you came here just to hear some pretty words and talk and feel good about yourself,” said Royster. “You came to the wrong room. A lot of people have been leading the good fight for a long time – but they need some more soldiers.”

Leaders agreed that finding an answer it won’t be simple, but sitting by while another person becomes a victim of domestic, gang, or gun violence, is not an option.

“Help us, Lord, come to a godly understanding of which direction we should go in to help prevent this or rather stop it altogether,” said one of the speakers. “We want to be in the arena of prevention. We want to be in the arena of gaining knowledge, and wisdom… Lord, we’re grateful. We praise you in advance for what you’re about to do and we thank you. That this is the beginning of a new frontier against violence. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Participating organizations: