Yesterday, The Trace’s Elizabeth Van Brocklin reported on increasing funding from states and cities for community gun violence prevention initiatives across the country. Local groups in cities disproportionately affected by gun violence are seeing success from intervention efforts that interrupt the cycle of violence, and state legislatures and cities are boosting their financial support, The Trace reports. The piece goes further:
“Activists of color say the change is long overdue. ‘Victims of violence in communities have largely been seen as a problem for black folks, brown folks, poor folks to solve on our own,’ said Michael McBride, a Bay Area pastor and director of LIVE FREE, a campaign that aims to stem urban violence and mass incarceration. ‘We have been for decades trying to raise the kind of strategies that we know, with proper support and funding, could save a lot of lives.’”
In addition to the continued advocacy of community-based groups, national gun violence prevention organizations are increasingly advocating for funding for these efforts, the story reports.
“‘Historically, our policy work has primarily focused on supporting gun safety legislation and opposing bills that would weaken gun laws,’ said Everytown’s Sharon Cromwell, who joined the organization last year as its first city gun violence prevention manager. ‘We’re increasingly adopting a more comprehensive policy agenda that includes supporting victims of violence and programs that break the cycle of violence.’”
Among the examples noted in yesterday’s story:
- In California, funding for California Violence Intervention and Prevention was increased by millions in the budget signed by Governor Newsom in June. The increase comes after community members and a coalition of mayors from California’s biggest cities urged state lawmakers and the governor to increase funding to the life-saving program.
- In Connecticut, Governor Lamont recently signed a budget that included $400,000 in additional funding for the data-informed gun violence prevention program Project Longevity. Using the Group Violence Intervention model, the group reduces gun violence through a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers that directly engage with the members of street groups in Connecticut’s three largest cities.
- And in several states, there’s a push to support hospital-based intervention programs and other programs that support victims of gun violence with additional Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. In Missouri alone, there is $70 million of VOCA Assistance funding available for victims’ service providers that could go towards relieving the financial and emotional burden survivors of gun violence face. Additionally, the New Jersey legislature recently passed a package of bills that would support a hospital-based intervention program and other community-based violence intervention programs.
Research has shown that community-based gun violence prevention and intervention programs are effective at reducing gun deaths and injuries in communities that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence.
If you’re interested in learning more about local violence intervention programs or what state legislatures can do to support them, don’t hesitate to reach out.