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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.
Violent domestic extremism is on the rise and firearms are a pillar of this extremist ideology. A March 2021 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that domestic violent extremists motivated by white supremacy and anti-government ideology are the most lethal threats facing this country.Guns are the weapon of choice for domestic extremists, and easy access to guns plays a significant role in the frequency and lethality of these attacks. The January 6 insurrection on the Capitol Building by Trump supporters, militia groups, and right-wing extremists—some of whom were armed—was the result of anti-government propaganda and right-wing messaging suggesting that the election of President Joe Biden was fraudulent. This anti-government rhetoric and the dangerous attacks that result do not exist in a vacuum. For years, right-wing extremists have used this ideology as a basis for their dangerous attacks, such as the Bundy standoff in 2014 that led to hundreds of anti-government extremists taking up arms against federal agents. Then, just this year, an 18-year-old white supremacist used an AR-15 to shoot and kill 10 Black people and injured an additional 3 people in a Buffalo supermarket.In order to address the rise in domestic extremism, Congress and the administration must do more to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous and radicalized individuals.
The rising violent crime rate over the past two years is a pressing issue that requires immediate action. While many have blamed the criminal justice reform movement for the rise in violent crime, these increases can largely be attributed to an alarming escalation in gun violence. If elected officials are serious about stopping violent crime, they need to prioritize and support stronger gun laws at both the state and federal levels.This fact sheet provides data that show the link between states' actions to weaken their gun laws and rising violent crime rates.
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.
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.