The high cost of gun violence was the focus of Thursday night's forum at the Santa Barbara Public library. Members in the community including students, city leaders and concerned residents joined for one common purpose: to reduce violence and to educate themselves on how to stay protected.

The dialogue follows a number of mass shootings throughout the country from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut to the horrific scene out of an Aurora Colorado theater, to the deadly shooting in Santa Barbara just this week.

The forum was put on by the Coalition Against Gun Violence with Mayor Helene Schneider as moderator. A panel of experts from Santa Barbara County schools, mental health specialists, the police department, even a mother who had lost her 19-year old son to gun violence spoke out.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Mannix says it's important to have a plan, and decide now how you're going to react if you're ever confronted by a gunman--

 Chief Mannix advises to:

1. Run: create a distance between you and the shooter.

2. If you can't run, hide--- try not to hide in a place where you can't see what's going on around you.

3. If you can't hide, then consider fighting back and taking action.

NewsChannel 3 Reporter Shirin Rajaee reports.