CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A new partnership between a College of Charleston professor and the Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council is aiming to find out what people in the Lowcountry think should be done about gun violence.

“We want to have a representation of community members, people involved in policy as well as law enforcement,” said Dr. Sarah Maness, an assistant professor of Public Health at the College of Charleston. “We’re very concerned about community gun violence and if we’re just approaching it from an academic standpoint then we’re not addressing the whole issue.”

The project is possible because of funding from a grant given by the Medical University of South Carolina’s Community Engaged Scholars Program.

Dr. Maness and the council are making a virtual survey to ask people about the methods they think can help prevent gun violence. One of them is locking car doors to discourage gun thefts.

“We are going to be asking about the idea of doing a campaign to increase locking car doors to prevent stealing guns from cars,” said Dr. Maness. “Charleston and Columbia are in the top five of cities in the nation for guns being stolen from cars.”

“We came up and formulated some plans of what we thought needed to be done in our community to address gun violence,” said Butch Kennedy, the Founder of the Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council. “Then we’ll be having a gun violence forum so we can have those open discussions on how to make our community safer.”

The survey will be ready to be distributed within the next month and Dr. Maness says that having the council on board helps a lot.

“They do have contacts within the community of people who have experienced gun violence or family members who have lost people to gun violence,” said Maness.

The results of the survey will help the council come up with solutions to gun violence and the College of Charleston to have data about people’s attitudes on gun violence.

“We want to find some areas where we can really get the ball rolling on change and have interviews. Finally the last step would be to get larger grant funding to implement these types of programs,” said Dr. Maness.

Making change with new laws is also part of the process. Kennedy says the groups must take the issue one possible solution at a time.

“We’re never going to move the needle forward at all if we continue to try and address everything at once,” said Kennedy. “I feel like if we address one issue at a time and go up to Columbia and get that done we can talk about the other problems later.”