RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Ahead of Governor Ralph Northam’s special legislative session next month to discuss gun violence in the Commonwealth, United States Senator Tim Kaine hosted a roundtable in the city’s Southside.
Mayor Levar Stoney, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Brian Moran, and other high-profile guests attended to share their thoughts on what could help with the gun violence plaguing the Commonwealth.
“That day showed me it doesn’t matter where you go, what you’re doing, you’re not safe anywhere. But how can we change that?" said Mark Whitfield, perhaps the most poignant voice at a time like this. Whitefield is the father of Markiya Dickson, the nine-year-old girl who was shot and killed at a park on Memorial Day Weekend.
He suggested that a more engaged community could help reduce some of the violence, and says he plans to kickstart that very engagement in his own neighborhood.
“I’m going to do some walks with the pastor, the mayor, whoever willing to walk with us, and show the community we’re all people. We’re all one,” Whitfield said.
Others at the meeting suggested focusing on mental health, and other ideas such as putting serial numbers on bullets to more easily track gun users. That idea, however, didn’t sit well with everyone.
“It’s a pathway towards government gaining control of people," said Brett Stauffer.
Kaine says the ideas he heard from Richmond dealt less with legislation, and more on attacking the problem before it has a chance to grow, and accountability as a community.
“We want action. Take some steps, do some things, make us safer, don’t just offer thoughts and prayers. We want to see leaders take some action," Kaine said.
Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.