The city of Gainesville announced on Tuesday that it will host a Gun Violence Summit on Aug. 6 and 7 in response to rising incidents in the area.
Mayor Harvey Ward and Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker will anchor the summit that includes sessions dedicated to policy analysis, violence prevention and group discussions, according to a press release. The event will happen at the Hilton UF Conference Center with registration information to come.
“This is a national problem with very real local consequences, and Gainesville leaders are committed to tackling this challenge locally with responsibility, compassion and transparency,” Ward said in the press release. “Crimes connected to gun violence, including burglaries and possession of illegal firearms, are a present and growing problem in every district.”
Last year, the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) reported nine shooting deaths, and so far in 2023, the city has had five shooting deaths.
A 2021 wave of summer violence among juveniles spurred the city and other local officials to focus on gun violence. GPD continues its violence interrupters program and has sought the assistance of faith leaders, and Duncan-Walker held a town hall on gun violence at the end of 2021.
Earlier this year, the city commission declared gun violence a public health crisis. State Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson proposed legislation to cut off the supply of stolen firearms in Florida 2023 session, but the bill failed to gain support.