PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens gathered at Rhode Island College Monday night to discuss gun violence prevention, less than 24 hours after three University of Virginia football players were gunned down by a fellow student.

The conversation focused on understanding the root causes of gun violence and identifying possible solutions. It was led by a panel of gun safety advocates, members of law enforcement and gun violence victims.

Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, one of the panelists, said gun violence is a multifaceted issue and preventing it takes a village.

“Gun violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” she explained. “It happens because of trauma.”

Diana Garlington, whose daughter was killed in a drive-by shooting more than a decade ago, said one solution is to continue advocating for stricter gun safety laws.

“We have to continue and keep our boots on the ground,” Garlington said.

“We need the legislators up there fighting for this issue and not cowering away from it,” Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence chair Sydney Monstream-Quas added.

The panelists called for additional solutions, such as increased access to mental health services.

Providence Detective Sergeant Timothy McGann said tension between officers and the community they serve doesn’t help when investigating and prosecuting gun violence crimes.

“We don’t have the credibility that the community wants to help it,” McGann said. “We can’t really be as effective as we want to be.”

McGann said assault rifles get all the attention, but the real issue on the streets are the smaller guns.

“What we see most of is handgun violence,” he said. “Handguns are particularly dangerous because they’re pretty concealable.”

No matter what weapon, all of the panelists agreed that putting an end to gun violence will take time.

“As individuals, we can only do so much,” Monstream-Quas said. “But by coming together … so much more can happen when you collaborate.”

“It does not end here,” Garlington added. “We must continue to fight for it.”