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This special collection brings together evidence and insights from nonprofits, foundations, and research organizations working to understand the full impact of firearm use and gun violence in the US. By providing us with analyses of current state and federal laws as well as valuable data on suicides, homicides, accidents, and mass shootings, these organizations seek to inform sound public policy and to curb this ongoing public health epidemic.

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"Gun Violence" by M+R Glasgow licensed under CC 2.0

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Addressing the root causes of gun violence with American Rescue Plan funds: Lessons from state and local governments

August 15, 2022

In June 2022, the most significant piece of gun violence prevention legislation in decades, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, became law. Alongside several common-sense gun regulations, the law allocates $250 million for community-based violence prevention initiatives—a promising step toward promoting safety through non-carceral and community-centered approaches.This federal action is important, but it only scratches the surface of what can be done to keep communities safe from gun violence. From investing in youth employment programs to revitalizing vacant lots to improving the quality of neighborhood housing, a wealth of community-based safety interventions are proven to reduce violent crime—including gun violence—in the places most impacted by it, and tackle the conditions of inequality that allow violence to concentrate in the first place. But far too often, these community-based interventions are under-funded, particularly when compared to more punitive approaches.Luckily, another source of federal aid can fund community-based safety investments: the American Rescue Plan's (ARP) $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. In addition to helping states and localities recover from the pandemic, the funds also provide local leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to address the public health crisis of gun violence.This research brief documents how state and local leaders are leveraging ARP funds to invest in non-carceral community-based safety initiatives; presents perspectives and case studies from leaders on-the-ground innovating on such strategies; and offers recommendations for how state and local leaders can maximize ARP funds to promote community safety prior to 2024 (when all funds must be obligated) and 2026 (when all funds must be spent). This is an unparalleled—and time-limited—window of opportunity, and states and localities should be thinking strategically right now about how to not only invest in proven strategies to reduce gun violence, but also promote life-affirming safety investments that support thriving communities.

The Cost Per Shooting: St. Louis, Missouri

April 4, 2022

The true governmental cost of gun-violence to the City, County and State of St. Louis, MO.

Addressing Community Violence in the City of St. Louis: Existing Strategies, Gaps, and Funding Opportunities

February 17, 2022

In June 2021, the Missouri Foundation for Health contracted with the Giffords Community Violence Initiative team to synthesize the information currently known about the scope and nature of the community violence epidemic in the City of St. Louis and identify strategies that need to either be implemented or scaled up to address this crisis. In recognition of the fact that this work requires a significant infusion of resources, Giffords staff and partners have also mapped out local, state, and federal funding opportunities to support all of the recommendations made here.This report is intended to assist St. Louis leaders and community stakeholders in prioritizing—and funding—the most effective solutions for reducing violence as quickly as possible. Violence is the result of many complex systems and inequities, from segregation and disinvestment in communities of color, to grave disparities in the criminal legal system, among others. But until the immediate bloodshed is dramatically reduced, progress on any larger social issue in St. Louis will be more difficult, as violence is both a symptom and a cause of inequality. That is why, while we recognize the larger systems change work that absolutely must be done to address the inequities at the root of community violence, this report is focused primarily on concrete strategies and systems that can help reduce violence in the short term, and that must be woven into the fabric of broader systems change going forward.