As another year of record city gun violence comes to a close, Everytown for Gun Safety has released a new resource addressing recent increases in gun violence and outlining ways policymakers at the local, state and federal level can respond in 2022.
The resource, titled 2021: A Deadly Year in Cities — And How Policymakers Can Respond, details a number of factors likely contributing to increased gun violence, including:
- Many local gun violence intervention programs experienced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, including strained funding, loss of support services on which at-risk individuals rely on after intervention, social distancing measures that altered outreach engagement, and an expansion of missions to include preventing the spread of COVID;
- Cities grappling with disproportionate gun violence experienced further strained relationships between law enforcement and local communities, and;
- Record gun sales exacerbated long-standing, NRA-backed loopholes in our gun laws.
The resource also lists ways policymakers can respond in 2022 to reverse increases in violence, including:
- Passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which includes a historic investment of $5 billion in Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs.
- Congress must act on life-saving legislation like enacting background checks on all gun sales, and passing legislation that empowers federal law enforcement to enforce the sources of illegal guns, including by modernizing the rules for the gun industry in order to use best practices and root out rogue gun dealers.
- At the state level, lawmakers should continue pushing for stronger laws that have been proven to reduce violence. States can also unlock funding to local intervention efforts during the state legislative budget process. In 2021, several states, such as Wisconsin, California, and Connecticut, invested in gun violence prevention using a combination of general fund revenue and federal funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). State agencies can also direct federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to victim services specifically targeted atto survivors of gun violence.
- Cities should use available ARP funding to address gun violence, as well as tap into the 26 existing grant programs that have been unlocked by the Biden-Harris Administration for gun violence prevention.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more.