Everytown, Mayors Against Illegal Guns Release Guidance on Steps Mayors Can Take Amid Continued Gun Violence in Cities, Concerns Over Unintentional Shootings, Domestic Violence Shootings, Gun Suicides
Members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young Unite as Mayors on the Frontline
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a part of Everytown, today released guidance detailing ways that mayors can continue to protect their cities from gun violence, reduce the risks of unintentional shootings, domestic violence, community violence, and gun suicides as gun sales spike and Americans self-quarantine at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cities across the country continue to see daily shootings — with some cities seeing an increase in gun violence since the stay-at-home orders were issued. Police departments and domestic violence hotlines are reporting increased calls as women and families are forced to quarantine with abusers, and experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the risk of unintentional shootings and gun suicides as the quarantine continues.
COVID-19 and ongoing gun violence is also taking a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities. While states and cities are making difficult decisions about how best to apply strained resources, it’s critical that community-based gun violence intervention and prevention programs continue to receive existing funding during and after the pandemic. Local gun violence intervention programs use evidence-informed approaches tailored to their communities to put a stop to violence and save lives.
“Each one of us is a first responder in this crisis — and together, we’ll keep taking steps to protect our communities from the spread of disease and the scourge of gun violence,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our investments in prevention and intervention are making an extraordinary difference in people’s lives, and Los Angeles is committed to keeping those programs strong.”
“Even as mayors lead the nation through one of the biggest health challenges our country has ever faced, cities from across the nation continue to carry the torch when it comes to implementing evidence-based, public health approaches to reduce gun violence,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “With the help of organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety coupled with the violence interrupters, blocks clubs, and faith groups that have immersed themselves into the fabric of our neighborhoods, we will continue to curb gun violence in every community and city across this country.”
“Our communities are being hit twice. As mayors we must continue to combat the gun violence that happens everyday, support law enforcement officers and the community groups that are on the frontlines of both gun violence and the pandemic, and ensure the public has the resources and information it needs to keep the peace,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
“Cities are where the rubber meets the road in fighting the COVID-19 virus. They’re also where the rubber meets the road on another public health crisis, gun violence,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “In Louisville, we have worked together to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and we know that this same common sense of purpose is necessary to decrease violence. It is critical that we continue to support the programs that are on the ground protecting families from the virus and gun violence.”
“During this pandemic, it’s critically important that we as Mayors continue our unwavering support of programs and efforts designed to end another public health crisis, gun violence,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “In Baltimore, our flagship violence prevention program, Safe Streets, continues their life-saving violence intervention work. These outreach workers are essential to keeping our city safe every day of the year.”
“Mayors across the country are now on the frontlines of two public health emergencies: COVID-19 and the ongoing gun violence crisis,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “During a time of home confinement and high stress, it’s more important than ever for mayors to invest in proven efforts to prevent gun violence.”
“Even a pandemic does not stop America’s ongoing gun violence epidemic, which takes 100 lives a day across the country and wounds hundreds more,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We know that community-based gun violence intervention and prevention programs are saving lives – cities must continue to support these programs while recognizing the rising risk of gun violence as the coronavirus crisis brings many cities to the brink.”
As detailed in the guidance, to help address gun violence amid the coronavirus crisis, mayors can:
- Support the essential work of community gun violence intervention programs so that necessary outreach and services can continue uninterrupted;
- Ensure flexible and sustained funding for community gun violence intervention programs;
- Maintain focus on high risk offenders and locations and protect officers by providing them with necessary protective equipment;
- Track data regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on gun violence to better understand and inform strategies;
- Address the increased risk of suicide by ensuring Extreme Risk Orders are designated as “essential” court services;
- Protect families by ensuring continuity of services to victims of domestic violence;
- Support survivors of gun violence by highlighting and ensuring accessibility of available services;
- Educate the public and first-time gun buyers about the risks and responsibilities that come with gun ownership;
- Promote the secure storage of firearms to prevent unintentional shootings and youth suicide; and
- Educate local gun dealers that remain open about their responsibility to inform customers and protect public safety.
Read Everytown’s full guidance here.
Mayors and city leaders interested in learning more about gun violence during the pandemic, including how to access federal and other resources to support their efforts, can reach out to [email protected].