FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Cape Fear/Fayetteville Chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers is bringing attention to the growing number of guns stolen from cars in Fayetteville.

“That’s one of the issues that has driven gun violence in Fayetteville, and we are committed to eliminating gun violence in our city,” said Dr. Oliver Johnson with the Association of Black Social Workers at Fayetteville State University.

The group held a news conference outside of Cumberland County Courthouse on Friday morning. They voiced their support behind a proposed gun ordinance in Fayetteville.

Recently one city leader introduced a measure to combat the problem. Fayetteville District 7 Council Member Brenda McNair proposed issuing citations to gun owners who leave their weapons unsecured and in plain sight in vehicles.

The Fayetteville City Council decided to instruct staffers to research the ordinance and see if there are other municipalities with such an ordinance. Staffers are supposed to report back to the council at a future date.

With so many stolen weapons, Fayetteville Police at one point posted reminders daily at 9 p.m. on Twitter and Facebook. Officers were reminding people to lock their cars.

A Fayetteville criminal defense and personal injury attorney said a growing number of his court cases involve stolen guns.

“Those guns are traded for drugs. Sometimes they are traded for automobiles and often they become the guns that are used in violent acts,” attorney Allen Rogers said.

According to Fayetteville Police in 2022, more than 1,200 cars were broken into, across the city. More than half were unlocked. A total of 154 guns and ammo were stolen.

“It is a serious problem in our community and it’s an opportunity for us to be responsible and address it,” Rogers said.

“We’ve seen everything from toddlers getting these weapons and dying, as a result, to even law enforcement officers and other communities that are killed because of guns stolen,” Rogers added.

“I think it’s more important to be aware of the uncertainty of the guns in the wrong person’s hand, that would impact a family and their ability to thrive,” said Ann Thomas, a public health social worker in Cumberland County.