SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A community conversation Monday night about firearm safety, this National Gun Violence Awareness Month.

This panel discussion took place at STCC, all in and effort to come up with long term solutions, on how to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands. Everyday, nearly 106 people die from gun violence in the U.S., the impacts being felt right here in western Massachusetts.

Juanita Batchelor, Founder of the Darrell Lee Jenkins Center, telling 22News, “I know all too well about gun violence, my son Darrell Lee Jenkins Junior was murdered in front of our home in 2014, this was the worst day of my life.”

And every year, about 1,600 children and teens die from gun violence, data show that Black children and teens are three times more likely to be killed by a gun.

While talks on tighter gun laws and restrictions have been the center of polarizing debate in the country, here at home during National Gun Violence Awareness Month, there’s momentum, to confront this dire issue.

State Representative Michael Day (D) Stoneham, telling 22News, “What we are really looking at is getting into the systemic problems, do we have mental health, poverty, inequities those systemic issues that we really need to get after to tame the tide of violence in our gateway cities.”

Local state leaders, saying illegal firearms, including ghost guns, have become a growing concern in the state. Rep. Bud Williams (D) Springfield adding, “Something is going on that is very troubling, there are too many guns, illegal guns, in the hands of bad people.”

Representative Carlos González (D) Springfield also adding, “We need to find out where they are coming from, and how do we track and trace these guns, and how can we best provide legislation that will bring more safety to the public.”

Gun deaths increased by 45 percent here in the U.S. between 2019 and 2021.