HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The Hampton Roads Black Caucus is on a mission to help the community. The group is hosting a gun buyback event Saturday in Virginia Beach.
If you have a gun that you no longer use or want, the HRBC will give you a gift card - no questions asked.
"With the increase in gun-related incidents, especially among our youth," Joel James, the caucus' spokesperson, tells News 3 reporter Leondra Head.
Their mission is to educate the youth on gun safety.
"Let’s put on a gun buyback, not so much to get guns back. We want illegal guns off the streets, but we want to be able to engage with youth, young adults who have firearms," James said.
An average of 1,015 people die each year from gun violence in Virginia, according to the state Office of Public Safety.
Gun buybacks are one component when comes to preventing gun violence. Cities across Hampton Roads are using other methods to decrease crime.
"Anytime you can get a firearm off the street, that’s one less firearm that can be used to endanger the public. A gun buyback with other means and other programs can be successful," Marvin Waters with the Portsmouth Sheriff's Office said.
Waters says other elements are vital in decreasing gun violence.
"When community policing is effective, the community will let you know what’s going on in the community. Re-entry programs definitely work. It gives the person incarcerated another outlook on life," Waters said.
Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced $27 million for gun prevention to address gun violence across Virginia.
"We’ve seen the increase in gun violence in Hampton Roads and the recent school shooting. We want to provide resources to local communities," Secretary Brian Moran, state secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security, tells News 3.
Secretary Moran says the funding will establish the Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention.
"A lot of this has to do with our youth to make sure they turn away from gun violence. Gun buybacks are a great example at why we need this center," Moran said.
The funding that Gov. Northam announced would have to get passed by the General Assembly in their upcoming session and then signed by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.