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The Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, applauded the Seattle City Council after it voted to override a mayoral veto on the 2020 rebalanced budget, which includes a significant increase in funding for local violence intervention programs.
“Simply put, our city’s local violence intervention programs prevent violence and save lives,” said Lynne Meddaugh, a volunteer leader with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Historically underserved communities in Washington are disproportionately affected by gun violence and deserve adequate funding to fight this crisis. We are grateful to the council members for including this critical funding in the budget.”
Gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black and Latino communities in the United States, due to systemic inequities and deliberate policy decisions that create segregated neighborhoods and drive income inequality in marginalized communities. And gun violence in Washington, particularly Seattle, has shown no sign of slowing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community-based violence intervention and prevention programs apply localized approaches that are well-suited to address gun violence in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs, such as Community Passageways, identify individuals who are at the highest risk of being exposed to gun violence and work to reduce that violence through targeted interventions that include de-escalating potentially violent conflicts, providing case management support services, and transforming community norms around violence.
On average, more than 750 Washingtonians die by guns each year, including 175 people who are killed in gun homicides. Between 2014 and 2018, King County, where Seattle is located, had more than 820 gun deaths. In Washington, Black Americans are six times more likely to be the victims of gun homicides than their white peers, compared to 10 times nationwide.
More information on gun violence in Washington is available here, and information on how Washington’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.