Richmond, Va. (WWBT) – An emergency community meeting was held Sunday on Richmond’s north side amid an increase in gun violence.
This comes after a press conference with City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson on Saturday. After Thursday night’s triple shooting at a Carolina Express convenience store, they feel they need to crack down on convenience stores.
At these convenience stores, especially Carolina Express, some tough community leaders are looking to impose limits on how much alcohol the stores sell and how many slot machines are there.
They think it’s part of what causes the gun violence problem. Leaders want store owners to sign a community agreement to offer services and products they deem most beneficial to the community.
More than two dozen people attended the emergency community meeting, either in person or online at the Six Point Innovation Center. Most agreed that the gun violence problem had gotten out of hand.
“My daughter and I had to hit the floor 3 times in one week,” said a community member.
However, not everyone can agree on how to fix this. Some at the meeting thought Councilwoman Robertson’s idea to crack down on convenience stores wouldn’t help.
“The issue is what is being done in the community to help these children. It’s not a storefront. You cannot hold such people accountable,” explained a community resident.
“A business has no control over whether another community can come in and shoot somebody else, I mean, that’s a fact that we have to get to the root of this,” said another.
There are those who agree with Robertson that some stores should be held responsible.
“Yes, he is responsible for what goes on in the premises when he opens. He should be held accountable,” said one.
“I think it will be effective in that area especially in the short term,” another mentioned.
The next step Robertson is trying to do is create a community agreement for these store owners to follow, saying they will adjust the way they do business to better align with the health and safety of the community.
If they do not agree to sign that agreement, other measures will be considered.
Robertson said he will go to Virginia ABC and the Virginia Lottery when House Bill 2131 is used. That legislation requires store owners to take action if they continue to have alcohol on their premises and create an environment that endangers public health and community safety.
“The ABC is related to whether they have any other regulatory things, and if they don’t, if you have a store that’s X square feet, we’re going to dictate to them how much space to allocate. ABC drinks and tobacco and then we go to the lottery and ask them the same thing about the type of machines,” explained Robertson.
Councilwoman Robertson closed the meeting by saying she will continue to talk with the police department and other community leaders to figure out what needs to be done before the community pact is taken to Carolina Express or other convenience stores.
Copyright 2022 WWBT. all rights reserved.