WASHINGTON, DC (WAVY) – The two U.S. senators from Virginia addressed the Five deadly shootings on Granby Street last weekendcalling it a tragedy that repeats itself too often.
US Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats representing Virginia, have made a point of saying this is not just a Hampton Roads or Virginia problem, but a national problem.
“We have a lot on our shoulders,” Kaine said. “Congress so far has been a big disappointment, I’ll be honest, in terms of handling this outbreak of gun violence because Congress has kind of been neck and neck with the gun makers. guns on this.”
Fortunately, multiple avenues of the federal government have been available to assist local gun violence prevention and response groups who are make a difference nationally.
Warner says additional funding for Justice Department programs could trickle down to impact programs.
“Whether there is a good program from Newark that needs to be implemented in Norfolk, we need to take best practice from across the country. Get them implemented,” he said.
Senator Kaine said funding from last year’s U.S. bailout was used to offset the challenges law enforcement has faced in recent years.
“The State of Virginia used some of the funding we provided to provide salary increases to law enforcement professionals, recognizing that there were shortages, that there were needs for hiring,” he said.
Even with federal government support, senators say one bill won’t make a difference. A community effort is needed to get people to lay down their arms.
“It’s going to take not just all of government, but all of community effort,” Warner said. “Programs against gun violence, more community activities to protect young people.”
Another issue discussed was the impact of ghost guns on community violence.
The government’s most recent spending bill allocated $199,000 to the Friends of Juvenile Court of Portsmouth Inc. project to implement a group violence intervention program. Kaine’s office says it hopes to remedy the conditions that encourage participation and perpetuate communal violence.
Former Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has requested $2.5 million in ARPA funding from six cities — including Newport News, Norfolk and Hampton — to help fund community violence prevention efforts.