ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) — The Vermilion Reach Group had its third “Gathering Until all Neighbors are Safe” (GUNS) class, where youth 8 years and older will get the chance to speak and interact with law enforcement and local leaders about firearm safety.
Gun safety and teaching youth what to do in the oresence of a firearm is the key focus of the gathering. Stacey Brown Lopez with The Vermilion Reach Group says GUNS is their organization’s way of reaching and educating the youth about firearm safety.
“What they can expect is to learn about how to report when they see a firearm or when they see a gun,” Brown said. “Who do they contact? Who do they let know? Is there a number they can call? They can come to find out all the information around firearms and gun safety.”
She says the meeting will have law enforcement, district attorneys and other leaders present in an interview setting where youth are encouraged to ask questions and are taught what to do when they see a firearm.
Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy said courses like this are beneficial for young children and teens because it not only builds a relationship between the community and law enforcement, but it teaches them how to be safe.
“Well we’re trying tobuild the trust within the community,” Hardy said. “We feel that was one thing we maybe were lacking after years and we want to build a good trust. Educate our youth, the youth that have not partcipated with the guns.”
Lopez says this is the third time the Vermilion Reach group has put this meeting together and said each time they are excited to see more people come out. She said this is something other areas can do to help teach their youth about being safe if they ever encounter a firearm.
“It’s very eye-opening for the children who come, it’s very age appropriate and it’s very much geared towards children and teens,” she said. “So we absolutely encourage and would love for this program to get started in other areas than just Vermilion Parish.”