The Washington chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement applauding the Washington legislature for including violence intervention and prevention (VIP) funding in the 2021-2023 budget.
“Funding local programs is a critical part of stopping gun violence in our state,” said Erin Sloane, a volunteer leader with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Violence intervention groups continue to be at the frontlines of the gun violence public health crisis, and this funding will be critical to their life-saving work.”
“Many violence intervention groups led by Black and Latino communities have been at the forefront of the gun violence prevention movement,” said Talia LeVine, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Washington. “We are grateful that the legislature prioritized these programs, continuing Washington’s legacy as a leader in the gun safety movement.”
The budget included funding for:
- The Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention, established in 2020 by the legislature, received $421,000. The office will create a state and federal grant funding plan to direct resources to cities that are most impacted by community violence.
- Youth Tip Line Work Group received $1,485,000 for fiscal year 2022 and $958,000 for fiscal year 2023 for the implementation of the YES tip line program, a program for receiving and responding to tips from the public regarding risks or potential risks to the safety or well-being of youth.
- Community Gun Violence Grants received $500,000 in grants for law enforcement agencies to implement group violence intervention strategies in areas with high rates of gun violence. The sites must be located in areas with high rates of gun violence, include collaboration with the local leaders and community members, use data to identify the individuals most at risk to perpetrate gun violence for interventions, and include a component that connects individuals to services.
- Youth Violence Prevention Grants received $800,000 for the Office of Juvenile Justice to establish a grant program for evidence-based services to youth who live in the hardest hit neighborhoods of gun violence.
VIP funding supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in Washington’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping Washington state communities safe. Many community-based prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. have also adapted their strategies to inform community members about the risks of COVID-19.
There are over 14,000 gun homicides in the U.S. every year. In 2015, half of the gun homicides in the US took place in just 127 cities, which contain less than a quarter of the population. In 2020, an estimated 19,300 people were killed in gun homicides or non-suicide-related shootings—a 25 percent increase over 2019 — and shows no sign of slowing down.
More information about violence intervention and prevention funding available here. Statistics about gun violence in Washington are available here, and information on how Washington’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Washington Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.