Cities that have sustained success preventing gun violence have deployed multi-disciplinary, community-involved approaches to response and prevention. Below are five steps that you can take to enhance your city’s gun violence prevention (GVP) strategy:
1. Promote, pass, and implement common sense gun laws at every level of government.
Work with your state and federal representatives to introduce and support sensible gun laws such as requiring background checks on all gun sales, red flag laws, domestic violence relinquishment laws, and funding bills that provide financial support for community-based violence prevention programs. Use your office to ensure these laws are faithfully implemented. And prevent dangerous bills from passing, such as preemption, stand your ground, guns in schools, concealed carry reciprocity, and permitless carry.
2. Execute both long-term and immediate actions to address gun violence where it occurs
A successful mayoral GVP strategy will include long-term prevention, immediate intervention practices, and comprehensive victim and re-entry services. Long-term efforts include crime prevention by environmental design – e.g., lead abatement, enhanced street lighting, blight elimination, cleaning and greening, and programs that enhance opportunities for youth. Violence interruption and focused-deterrence are good examples of effective interventions that can stem violence immediately before it happens. Hospital-based violence interventions and robust re-entry programming are good investments to break the cyclical nature of violence.
3. Centralize firearms technology and data in a coordinated interdiction strategy.
Increasingly, cities are tracing and running ballistics analysis on all recovered guns, deploying gunshot detection to quickly respond to shooting incidents, and using network analysis to locate persons at high-risk of engaging in gun violence. If you have these practices in place, consider centralizing all these firearms data points to inform one cohesive strategy to crack down on illegal guns and firearms trafficking. Many jurisdictions are adopting the Crime Gun Intelligence Center model, an interagency collaborative effort to coordinate the best available resources to better understand and swiftly respond to gun crimes.
4. Tap into funding to support services for gun violence survivors.
Victim services can help address the well-documented risks for re-victimization or retaliation after gun violence occurs. Many cities fund and expand victims’ services through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). As Mayor, you are uniquely suited to advocate for the needs of gun violence survivors in your city. Coordinate local victim service providers and work with your state VOCA administrators to ensure a variety of accessible, trauma-informed victim services are available to residents in your city.
5. Leverage business and municipal purchasing power in the fight to end gun violence.
Mayors can work with local businesses in reducing neighborhood gun violence by encouraging in-kind contributions to community-based GVP practices, including participation in job readiness programs or donating space or equipment for after-school mentoring or sports programs. Moreover, you can encourage businesses to implement gun sense policies, including by using municipal purchasing, investing, and bond-issuing power to incentivize businesses large and small to adopt reforms that keep their customers – and your city – safer.
Everytown for Gun Safety and Mayors Against Illegal Guns can work with you to further develop these ideas to your city. Contact us at [email protected] to learn how we can help you prevent gun violence and visit www.everytown.org/mayors to join the coalition.
Read our report: Strategies for Reducing Gun Violence in American Cities
Everytown Research & Policy is a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to understanding and reducing gun violence. Everytown Research & Policy works to do so by conducting methodologically rigorous research, supporting evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public.