OLYMPIA, Wa. – The Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, applauded the introduction of Senate Bill 6288, legislation to establish the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention to promote effective state and local efforts to reduce preventable injuries and deaths from daily gun violence in Washington.
“Washington state has been a leader in gun violence prevention for years,” said Catherine Parker, a volunteer with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “By introducing legislation to establish the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, Washington state continues its legacy of being at the forefront of common-sense gun safety efforts.”
“These programs already save lives in cities and states across the country,” said Keaton Dickinson, a volunteer with the Seattle, Washington chapter of Students Demand Action. “It’s encouraging to see Washington lawmakers take the first step toward creating a similar grant program in our state to help reduce gun violence for communities with the highest need.”
Community violence intervention programs have already been successful in helping reduce daily gun violence in California, New York, and Massachusetts by applying localized approaches to addressing gun violence in some of their cities’ hardest-hit neighborhoods. In California, since launching Ceasefire in 2012, Oakland has seen a remarkable 50 percent decline in homicides, and Richmond has seen the number of murders decline by more than 50 percent in the years after the adoption of Operation Peacemaker compared with the years before its adoption. The substantial investment in local violence reduction strategies has contributed to a reduction in gun homicides in Massachusetts and New York. Currently, the gun homicide rate in Massachusetts and New York are three and two times lower than California, respectively.
While Washington is a national leader in gun violence prevention, the state has not historically prioritized local violence intervention and prevention programs aimed at reducing interpersonal gun violence. Establishing the Washington Office of Firearm Violence Prevention would allow the state to support several effective gun violence reduction initiatives and create a case study for funding throughout the state.