Seven Denver children under the age of 18 have been shot and killed in the city so far this year, and community members have gathered to discuss solutions.
“Recent shootings, including the one in my own neighborhood this past weekend, underscore the urgency in preventing youth gun violence,” said Mayor Michael Hancock in a release Sept. 25.
Hancock attended an event Saturday to discuss ways that Denver officials and residents can help, reports Denverite.
In the wake of the shooting deaths of 14-year-old Aiden Lawrence on Aug. 9 and 17-year-old Diego Marquez on Sept. 21, Hancock said more needs to be done to prevent children from accessing guns, including taking them from parents' bedrooms or stealing them from vehicles.
“We’re going to fight like heck to make sure that Aiden and Diego’s loss is not in vain,” he said, according to Denverite. “We can prevent our young people from getting their hands on these guns.”
Parents can also keep an eye on social media for escalating confrontations that could lead to violence, Hancock suggested.
"As we call for action at all levels of government and throughout our community, we strongly encourage families to act by being aware of what their children are putting on social media, talking about gun safety, and safely securing and storing all firearms," Hancock said in the release.
Many who attended Saturday's event related gun violence to overall issues with the standard of living in Denver, reports Denverite, saying that better access to affordable housing and high-quality education could address the root causes of violence.
If kids could be proud of where they live, said Denver mother Carol Robinson, “they would take ownership of it instead of destroying it.”