Who is responsible for America’s soaring gun violence?
Why Do We Live in West Palm Beach, Michigan? A Case Study of Gun Violence in the Era of the American Redistricting Initiative
People lay flowers at a monument to Junior Seau, an American football player who died in 2012 of a self-imposed gunshot wound. Sandy Huffaker/Getty
It would be difficult and expensive to build a system for non-fatal gun injuries. In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded efforts to support a system in seven states but the project ended after just three years when Congress cut the CDC’s budget because of its firearm violence research. It took more than 20 years for Congress to approve federal funding for gun violence research.
Data quality of gun violence is getting worse. For decades, the FBI has compiled and distributed information from local law enforcement agencies on violent crimes, such as robbery with firearms. This system was retired in 2021. Without comprehensive estimates of important crime trends for the last two years, federal government has been unable to do its job.
Miyoshia Bailey holds a photo of her son Cortez at a 2015 event calling for better gun control. He died in Chicago from a gunshot wound. Credit: Allison Shelley/Getty
In 2015, the rate of violent crime in West Palm Beach was the same as Chicago. That summer, my cousin and I were lamenting the fact that every time we turned on the news, someone we knew had been shot or someone we knew was the suspect in a shooting. We decided to try to fix it.
Editor’s Note: This roundup is part of the CNN Opinion series “America’s Future Starts Now,” in which people share how they have been affected by the biggest issues facing the nation and experts offer their proposed solutions. The views expressed in these commentaries are not of the authors. CNN has more opinion.
Polls show that voters continue to worry about violent crime and guns. These issues certainly stick with Kathy Pisabaj, of Chicago, who was 19 in 2018 when she was shot by a stranger and nearly died.
She said that if they stayed away from gangs, they wouldn’t get hurt. “Gun violence continues to tear apart communities and devastate lives like mine every single day.”
The area ofWest Palm Beach called the Tamarind Avenue corridor is notorious for poverty, drug abuse and violent crime. It’s just a few miles from what was the “Winter White House,” or Mar-a-Lago.
The Inner City Innovators: Fighting Gun Violence and Crime Through Mentoring, Anti-Violating Workshops, Community Engagement and Community Engagement
I was 26 and working the graveyard shift at an emergency shelter for displaced youth. My cousin, then 28, was a maintenance worker at a local nonprofit. In the end, we founded Inner City Innovators, a nonprofit with three initiatives.
One of them is our Hope Dealer mentoring program, which combines individual and peer-to-peer mentoring, leadership development, community service and social-emotional learning. We give youth 13+) someone to talk to.
Our anti-violence workshops go into schools, community centers, anywhere with kids. They discuss ways to reduce their chances of being the victims of gun violence.
Our mission is to keep every young man in our program free and alive until they are 25. Most offending starts around 13, and 25 is when they say the brain is finished developing. We want to capture and stabilize them when this demographic is known to struggle the most.
We don’t want to just keep them alive physically. They want to be kept alive emotionally as well. We have introduced them to yoga, meditation, and other experiences outside of the home. When you’re born and raised in a community of constant disadvantage, you think everywhere is like that. We would like to make them want to do more.
Lack of school, poverty and home aren’t sources of shame. Those are sources of power. I would like them to use these things to make better decisions.
We give them space to be involved and space to lead. When you challenge a young person who’s been through hard times, they want to stand up and show you they’re capable.
We can’t stop all shootings. Most of the young men who have been involved in the Hope Dealer mentoring program and have gun charges stay away from activities that require picking up firearms behind them while on the path we put them on.
Inner City Innovators is a nonprofit based in West Palm Beach, Florida, that combats gun violence and crime by empowering inner- city youth through mentoring programs, anti-violence workshops and community engagement. This piece was adapted from an interview with CNN’s Jessica Ravitz Cherof.
While these funding bills no doubt will be welcomed, they do not address the underlying issues driving up crime rates. It feels like police have been placed on the back foot. The era of proactive policing has come to an end, and violent crime has soared. A new wave of progressive district attorneys bent on criminal justice reform, in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have run into the hard wall of angry residents demanding public safety.
A college classmate of my son’s was murdered during an attempted carjacking. My daughter is a physician. Since the piece I wrote eight months ago, circumstances have not changed.
My son’s friends, living in his former apartment, were robbed at gunpoint during a home invasion. I was scolded recently for wearing an Apple watch because my daughter feared I would be mugged.
Why the bipartisan gun safety bill is a band-aid: Why the Ohio legislature shouldn’t be ashamed of the gun violence problem in the United States
While most crime is prosecuted at the state and local levels, the political implications at the federal level are palpable. Republican congressional candidates are deploying the crime issue effectively against Democrats because it resonates with base and swing voters. As a matter of damage control, House Democrats recently passed a package of four police funding bills in an attempt to shore up support among voters who believe them to be too soft on crime or in support of defunding the police.
The most important thing that can be done to address the crime problem is for local district attorneys, mayors, and council members to publicly show their support for law enforcement officers and allow them to do what is necessary to restore order. Too many police departments and district attorney offices throughout the country have a low level of Morale, which leads to high turnover rates, and less experienced police officers and prosecutors.
The bipartisan gun safety bill that was signed into law this summer is an absolute band-aid. It doesn’t address my concerns about the safety of law enforcement officers, citizens and children. It’s a way that politicians can placate the various sides on this issue, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It is a way of saying that we agree on a lot more than just a few things. Most importantly, in the poll of Ohio residents, everyone favored background checks for people buying a weapon. The basic element is not included in this bill.
It’s long past time to address the blatant lawlessness in communities across the country. There is no reason we can’t do it. It just takes political will.
“Lock it up” Campaign: A Coalition to Educate, Protect and Protect Children from Gun Violence in the U.S., and the First Law in South Carolina
The former congressman from Pennsylvania chaired the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, as well as the House Ethics Committee. He is a political commentator.
We’re all tired of the state of politics in our country today. Tired of having to listen to disagreements and the differences of opinion. And so, when people ask why I decided to run for city council as a public health researcher, I remind folks that the local level is where we can really make change and impact our community.
With our hands tied by preemption laws, which allow state laws to preempt what local governments can do, and the challenges of South Carolina’s deep red political climate, we’ve had to get creative and develop relationships across the spectrum of viewpoints around gun violence to be successful.
Columbia’s “lock it up campaign” increased firearm storage. We partnered with our police department and local community groups to launch a robust gun safety campaign. We gave out information and gun locks to address the issues of deaths and injuries caused by firearms. The National Crime Prevention Council states that 89% of shooting deaths of children occur in the home when kids play with loaded guns.
The campaign was so successful, we ran out of gun locks within an hour. The state armory gave another 150 locks to help us spread the word. This campaign wasn’t going to solve the entire problem of gun violence, but it made the statement that our city will do its part. And that mattered to our citizens.
I led attempts to pass the first law in South Carolina that requires citizens to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours of learning it’s gone, because South Carolina is third in the country for guns stolen out of vehicles.
Black Lives Matter: Stop Violence, Stop Shooting, and Stay Safe! Two Years of Living in a Gun Violence-Innocent City: Why Our City is Failing
Aditi Bussells is the city councilwoman at-large in Columbia, South Carolina who holds a PhD in public health. She is the first South Asian woman to be elected to local government in the history of South Carolina.
Two years ago, Kansas City lost 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while sleeping, after a shooter opened fire on his father’s home. LeGend should still be alive, and so should the thousands of other children, particularly Black and brown youth, taken too soon by gun violence in our country.
In Kansas City, we continue to make historic progress in housing access. The Kansas City Housing Trust fund will create over 500 affordable housing units if the bond measure is approved by the voters next month. We’ve also launched Zero KC, a plan to end homelessness in our city in five years.
In 2020, my administration sued Jimenez Arms, a gun manufacturer that provided guns to felons, allowing illegal guns to flood our streets and causing significant harm to our community. The US Bureau of A, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted a deficient investigation before granting a license to the operators of Jimenez Arms. The agency refused to act so we sued them and shut down the shop, keeping their weapons off the streets.
There are people in the upcoming elections who care about your kids. If your candidate cannot ensure your children will be safe at school every day, or ensure you’ll be safe going to the grocery store, question whether they are the best candidate for your community.
Keeping people in our cities alive is more important than anything and is not about rhetoric. If people and kids are dying preventable deaths, we are failing.
The tip that stirs attention is not the base of the iceberg: The impact of firearm violence and police shootings on loved ones in the U.S.
Democratic Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, elected in 2019, is chairman of the US Conference of Mayors Criminal and Social Justice Committee and is co-chair of Everytown for Gun Safety’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Loved ones are not unscathed. The family of a survivor experiences an increase in mental health disorders even though they did not shoot themselves.
These effects persist at least a year after injury. While the world has moved on, survivors are still learning how to walk again, battle demons again and suffer through their private tragedies out of the public eye. The tip that stirs attention is not the base of the iceberg.
This seems like a pretty fundamental statistic we should know, or at least have some decent estimate of. By a factor of two to three, firearm violence can be seen as skewed with only a subset of firearm deaths and injuries. Black Americans aresproportionately affected by gun violence and police shootings because federal data systems only track a small portion of these incidents.
The Laws of the Public Works: Rescinding a Gun-Like Permittance in Ohio for Citizens with Criminal Background Checks
The voice of the business community is important for public health. Indeed, the private sector has been a partner in public health before, from addressing the tobacco epidemic, to combating the opioid epidemic, to expanding health insurance.
Shoppers, notably young people, are increasingly devoting their dollars to businesses that resonate with their values. The number of people affected by gun violence is growing, and companies that do anything about it could be better off than those that don’t.
For 35 years, I’ve worn a uniform for Ohio’s Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. I started as a young officer and moved up the ranks. I trained officers on firearm safety, ran a corrections training academy and worked as a self-defense instructor.
Law enforcement officers are less accurate in crises due to the hours of training they must complete prior to being certified. I’m 95% accurate on a good day, when I’m stationary in front of a target. But introduce loud noises, sirens, the darkness of night, lots of people and someone running at me, my skill level – despite all my training – will go down. And the likelihood that I, or any trained officer, will hit something we don’t intend to hit goes up. This has been known for decades in law enforcement.
Today the state of Ohio allows anyone with a valid license to carry a gun without a background check as long as they are at least 21 years old. The Sheriff of Hamilton County doesn’t have to look over who is carrying a concealed weapon. Prior to this bill being passed, I rescinded last year some 200 concealed carry permits from those charged with crimes such as domestic violence or assault. I cannot do that, and the 200 people can conceal their carry without law enforcement oversight.
Ohio residents should have the opportunity to vote on age limits and strict background checks for anyone who is purchasing a firearm and for those who conceal carry.
We are concerned with our own training, how to work around the flawed legislation, and how to keep ourselves safe. We’re going to keep an accounting of what goes wrong, point out what could have been prevented and pay attention. We’ll continue to fight to rescind this law, and we’ll continue to offer and encourage licenses and training.
All of us, as citizens of this great nation, have a responsibility to help prevent gun violence. I’ll continue to speak out and advocate for sensible gun legislation. Anyone who has an avenue to talk to lawmakers needs to talk to them, too.
The Future of Gun Violence Prevention in America: The Contribution of Andrew R. Morral to the Run of the National Syndromic Epidemic Program
One of the first women to be elected to serve in the position was Sheriff McGuffey.
The co- leader of Gun Policy in America is an economist by the name ofRosanna Smart from the nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Andrew R. Morral is a senior behavioral scientist at RAND; co-leader of the initiative; and director of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, a private philanthropy that funds gun violence prevention research. The views expressed in this piece are their own. View more opinion on CNN.
The CDC started a 10-state pilot project called the Firearm Injury surveillance Through Emergency Rooms (FASTER) that will try to find out if the National Syndromic Epidemic program can be used to monitor firearm injuries.
While a more detailed (and theoretically improved) system replaced the prior one, the rollout of this FBI System has not gone smoothly. In 2021, the FBI’s new data system collected crime information from just over 60% of law enforcement agencies nationwide, resulting in uncertainty about whether murder in 2021 was up 17% or down 7% from the year before.
An effort to intervene to respond to crime trends could be jeopardized by the crumbling of the nation’s crime data infrastructure.
After 2004, gun ownership questions were removed from the core module of one of the CDC’s flagship health behavior surveys. Many studies looking at effects of gun violence prevention have to use data that is older than 20 years.
The lowest hanging fruit to improve our data collection could be to remove statutory barriers that prevent researchers from using important data that the federal government is already collecting, such as information on guns used in crimes. Since 2003, the Tiahrt Amendments have prohibited the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing disaggregated crime gun trace data with researchers.
The federal government has many of the requisite tools in place to do this, and it does it well on a wide range of other problems. Shying away from measuring this problem may also make it more difficult to fix it.