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Gun violence in America has existed at epidemic levels for decades, and recent CDC data warns that this public health crisis is quickly getting worse. In 2020, the firearm homicide rate surged by 35% and gun violence became the number one cause of death for children and teens for the first time. Due to the impacts of past and enduring systemic racism, gun violence is inflicting disproportionate devastation in Black and Brown communities. In 2020, Black people experienced the highest homicide rate increase and were four times more likely to be killed by a firearm than the general population. Gun violence remains the leading cause of premature death for Black men, as well as the number two cause of premature death for Latino men and Black women.In the face of this worsening epidemic and despite the fact that violence was recognized federally as a public health issue over 40 years ago, many cities across the country have yet to begin funding comprehensive public health strategies to end the cycle of violence. This report was developed to give advocates and local officials the tools they need to help change that.Community Justice's City Violence Prevention Index (VPI) is a first-of-its-kind national examination of local violence prevention programs, services, and policies. The VPI also represents the first national examination of local offices of violence prevention, including the details of their core functions. This inaugural edition assesses the 50 U.S. cities that experienced the highest incidents of gun violence in 2021, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
Historically, the United States' approach to crime has been reactionary and overreliant on criminal legal sanctions, and it has failed to adequately address the social, health, and behavioral factors that drive crime. Still, as the country continues to grapple with a rise in gun violence, a new wave of "tough-on-crime" rhetoric has emerged, blaming progressive policies for the increase in violent crime. While violent crime rose across the country in 2020, progressive leaders in cities are investing resources into proven public health and community-based solutions to stop gun violence before it starts, and these cities are seeing early signs of success in stemming the tide.Rather than accept calls for tough-on-crime policies, leaders in Houston, Boston, and Newark, New Jersey, have taken a more holistic approach to prevent violence before it starts. These cities are three examples of jurisdictions that have implemented comprehensive public safety plans focused not only on stopping violent crime but also on prioritizing community-driven and public health-focused innovations that break the cycle of violence.
This annual study examines black homicide victimization at the state level utilizing unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The study ranks the states by their rates of black homicide victimization and offers additional information for the 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates.
This report contains the latest work of a unique group of experts convened by the Joyce Foundation beginning in 2019 under the banner "Toward a Fair and Just Response to Gun Violence." The group includes advocates, prosecutors and defense attorneys, policy experts, researchers, violence intervention practitioners, and members of law enforcement, all experts in their fields who have come together as a community of practice to address some of the hardest questions facing our communities in 2022: how to reduce the devastating toll of gun violence experienced in many U.S. cities; how to limit the proliferation of guns - many owned illegally - in those same communities; how to do so without further undermining the relationship between police and communities of color; and how to do so without contributing to the over-incarceration of men and boys of color.Following a series of virtual meetings in 2020 and 2021, the members of the community of practice arrived at this set of consensus recommendations for policy, research and practice, all in furtherance of the group's shared goals of reducing the harms caused by guns, and reducing the harms caused by punitive law enforcement responses to gun violence.
Wilder Research conducted interviews with national messaging experts and white, male, firearm owners in greater Minnesota. Respondents were asked for their suggestions for trusted messengers who could share communications about firearm suicide prevention, suggestions for framing messaging and the types of content that should be shared, safe storage practices, and how they and other firearm owners would respond to a mental health crisis and the barriers that prevent people from intervening in a crisis.
Our goal was to create a research-backed* package of policies that would meaningfully reduce gun deaths and be supported by gun owners and non-gun owners alike. We were guided by three main criteria:To focus on the core principle shared by gun owners and non-gun owners: Gun policies should ensure that people who are at high risk for violence cannot access guns.To identify a limited set of policies, that when combined, were demonstrated to have the greatest impact on reducing gun violence.To respect the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase and possess guns.What follows is a limited package of policies that work holistically to reduce gun-related deaths. Each policy is not a stand-alone, but rather all are required in order to effectively implement a system that will accomplish our goals.
Key PointsAfter the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump tasked a multiagency effort to review best practices for school safety, which issued a landmark Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) report containing practical and actionable advice to keep students safe.After the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, which—judging by a lawsuit filed against the school district—appeared to parallel the Parkland shooting with red flags missed and administrative missteps made, the Biden administration declared that the FCSS no longer reflected federal policy.There is a willful campaign from social justice advocacy organizations to fight against some of the key best practices FCSS identified. An examination of the alleged circumstances of the Oxford shooting suggests that school leaders should take their cues on school safety not from advocacy organizations or the Biden administration but from a careful evaluation of previous tragedies.
The rise in violent white supremacist and anti-government extremism has permeated across the United States in recent years. All eyes were on Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, when—after years of rising tensions instigated by former President Donald Trump and his supporters—hundreds of militia groups and right-wing extremists attacked the Capitol. More than one year later, on May 14, 2022, a white 18-year-old espousing the racist "great replacement theory" fatally shot 10 Black people in a Buffalo, New York, grocery store. This white supremacist conspiracy theory posits that white people across the globe are going to be replaced by people of color.These devastating attacks did not occur in a vacuum. Gun violence prevention advocates had cautioned for months that the dangerous rhetoric could manifest in violent, deadly extremism; however, many did not heed the warning. In 2016, the Center for American Progress—in partnership with the Institute for a Progressive Nevada—released a detailed report on anti-government violent extremism in Nevada that echoed across the country. Nevada has an infamous history of violent extremist and anti-government actions by some residents. Now, the state is at a crossroads, experiencing rising extremist rhetoric alongside calls for weaker gun laws that, if combined, could be devastating and result in higher levels of extremist violence.This report is an update on the 2016 Center for American Progress report and examines how the combination of rising violent extremist ideologies and weak gun laws can lead to disastrous results for state residents. This report also presents the following policy solutions, which can be used to prevent future violent extremist attacks:Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.Ban guns at polling places.Implement waiting periods for purchasing guns.Enact preemption laws.Address hate crimes.Enact a licensing law.
At a moment when the United States needs to marshal all its resources to invest in education, worker skills, and building healthier, safer, more sustainable communities, our federal, state, and local governments are spending a combined average of nearly $35 million each day to deal with the aftermath of gun violence across the country.
In the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, we surveyed school employees and parents about their reactions and concerns:90% of Texas school employees have worried about a shooting happening at their school.42% of those employees said the Uvalde shooting may affect their decision to return.Still, 77% of Texas school employees reject the idea that teachers should be armed in the classroom.Instead, high majorities of both Texas school employees and parents support red-flag laws (87%), required background checks (87%), raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 (85%), and even a ban on assault weapons (75%).Additionally, 96% of survey respondents support the Texas Legislature increasing funding for public education to invest in mental health resources and make meaningful security upgrades. The emphasis here is on meaningful: Uvalde CISD received $69,000 from a one-time, $100 million state grant to enhance physical security in Texas public schools, according to TEA data.
States, cities, and rural communities across the United States are grappling with rising gun violence. While overall crime rates dropped from 2019 to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a spike in firearm sales and gun homicides, growing mistrust between police and the communities they serve, and great economic and social instability. Black and Hispanic communities disproportionately bear the brunt of this instability: They are not only experiencing increased gun violence to a greater degree but also have been hardest hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic and have had resources divested from them for generations.In order to respond to gun violence and address its root causes, communities most affected are banding together to advocate for greater investments in resources outside the criminal legal system that increase safety. Community stakeholders are also working together with their local governments in new and innovative ways to respond to instances of violence and protect their neighborhoods. These include supporting community reinvestment initiatives and building new violence prevention and intervention programs. One tool that is gaining popularity and has proved to be effective is community-based violence interventions (CVI). CVI programs serve as a vital way to connect community resources to the people who need them most, addressing the root causes of gun violence in a holistic way that cannot be done by law enforcement or local government alone.This report addresses some of the most frequent questions around CVI programs. It provides guidance not only to community leaders but also to policymakers seeking to engage with and support these programs.
Firearm suicide is having a devastating impact on American youth. Over the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among young people has increased faster than among any other age group. Today, youth firearm suicide has reached its highest rate in more than 20 years. As students continue to navigate changes in school learning environments--a result of the ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic--there is concern that the anxiety and loneliness already felt by many young people will continue to increase. This comes at the same time as an unprecedented surge in gun sales in the US, raising concern about the already growing rates of firearm suicide.But suicide, including firearm suicide, can be prevented. We know that removing access to firearms, a particularly lethal means, is the easiest and quickest intervention. We can save lives by implementing policies that limit easy and immediate access to firearms, increasing awareness of suicide risk factors, improving access to culturally appropriate mental health care, and supporting America's youth.