We are all tired of COVID and the ramifications of this pandemic, but Norfolk has been in the midst of its own epidemic for much longer: gun violence.
Hannah has experienced this problem first-hand, but is all-too-aware that this problem plagues community members daily. Despite nearly daily school and public shootings, statewide legislators are still writing bills to loosen the already lenient gun laws in Virginia. Unfortunately, while adults work to keep their arsenal of firearms, they are ignoring the true victims–our children. 72% of gun-related unintentional injuries and 79% of gun-related assault injuries in Virginia are among people ages 15-34. With over 72% homicides involving guns in our state, it is clearly an issue that needs to be appropriately and aggressively addressed. In 2020 alone, we have experienced 12 gun-related deaths or injuries of teens in Norfolk, these numbers rising to 36 for Hampton Roads and 84 for the state. A child’s life should not be ended, either through death or early entry into the prison pipeline, because of a gun they never should have had access to.