King County continues to be ravaged by gun violence this year. At the end of September, King County already saw 73 people had been killed and another 283 injured in shootings according to from the Shots Fired Project. These numbers are more than the 69 gun homicides and 268 nonfatal shootings that happened in 2020, which was a record. The reports also show that people of color, especially young Black men, continue to be disproportionately affected by gun violence.
In July, Seattle and King County officials announced a $2 million investment in violence intervention groups in the area to fight gun violence. However, there’s still more to be done. To assist state and local governments, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law in March, authorizing $350 billion in funding for governments to counter the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. States, cities and counties can utilize ARP funds to counter surges in gun violence and support gun violence intervention programs performing essential public health work. More on how Washington could use these funds is available here.
According to research on violence intervention programs, they have been shown to reduce gun violence in communities disproportionately impacted. Programs such as Community Passageways have been leading the charge against gun violence in their own communities for years. Over the past few years, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers alongside partners advocated to establish the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention and secure millions of dollars of funding for violence intervention programs. This session, volunteers and partners will continue that work to ensure funding for violence prevention and intervention programs across the state.
Every year, over 780 people die by guns in Washington and over 800 more are wounded. Gun violence costs Washington $5.3 billion each year, of which $169.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in the state is available here.