State and Local Organization and Program Resources
Prosecution of firearms-related crime is not the only way to reduce gun violence. A public health approach to reducing gun violence encourages state, local and community-based organizations to adopt methods of stopping violence before it occurs and reducing the emotional and physical damage caused by firearms. This approach takes a variety of forms, from interventions to prevent retaliation after a gang-related shooting to removing firearms from individuals determined to be a danger to themselves or others. In any form, this is a data-driven and evidence-based approach to reducing the harm caused by gun violence.
There are many government agencies and government-funded programs, in addition to community-based organizations and programs dedicated to preventing gun violence in California. Some of these include:
Government-Funded Organizations and Programs
In partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Hope and Heal Fund brings together funders and community leaders in California to invest in strategic solutions to prevent and interrupt gun violence in all forms: suicide, domestic violence and community violence. Funding support includes organizations that focus on:
- Improving the public’s understanding of gun violence—collecting stories from impacted communities on firearm suicide, community violence, and domestic violence and encouraging media coverage and discussion about the full scope of gun violence.
- Researching and writing about individual and environmental factors that contribute to firearm homicide and suicide.
- Assessing current evidence on the prevention of firearm suicide.
- Trainings on firearms removal in gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) and domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs).
- GVRO and DVRO relinquishment education and training of judges, court professionals, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers.
- Producing reports detailing the costs of gun violence in specific California cities and the cost-savings on taxpayers and community resources that can be obtained by redistributing resources to prevention work rather than punitive systems.
- Production of a comprehensive report detailing the statistics of Latino homicide and suicide in California, and the role played by firearms.
- Publication of reports on the intersection between gun violence and the LGBTQ community.
- Project-funding providing clinical tools via video episodes for firearm injury prevention: teaching medical and mental health care providers how to reduce the risk of firearm injury in patients.
- Community emergency response toolkit and plan for use by counties to be able to respond to shootings and suicides within the community.
- Educational fund to stop gun violence via https://preventfirearmsuicide.efsgv.org/.
- Sharing best practices, building statewide capacity, and amplifying relevant research through co-facilitating with criminal justice reform leaders, community advocates focused on community-based strategies, and faith-based non-profit community organizers.
Local Government Programs
Many cities across the state have created their own gun violence prevention programs. Whether through the mayors’ office, city attorney, police department, superior court, district attorney, probation department, housing authority, or in partnership with community-based organizations, local government gun violence prevention programs exist in many forms:
- Comprehensive GVRO programs 1 .
- Outreach to high-risk youth and young adults after violent incidents to prevent retaliation.
- Gang intervention and prevention, regional juvenile re-entry services, and community engagement programming, including individual and family counseling, case management, court advocacy, education, employment preparation for high-risk youth.
- Gun harm reduction strategies requiring gun owners to pay a yearly fee and carry liability insurance redistributing the revenues to community-based programs focused on reducing gun violence.
- Anonymous gun buyback events where residents can surrender their unwanted weapons in exchange for cash or gift cards.
Nonprofit organizations exist at the local, state and national levels to shape public policy, increase community awareness and strengthen public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. Some of these nonprofit organizations include:
- Brady: United Against Gun Violence, a nonprofit that promotes education, litigation, and legislation to reduce gun violence. The organization is named in honor of Jim and Sarah Brady, who advocated for commonsense gun laws after Jim—while serving as President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary—was shot during an assassination attempt on President Reagan. Jim survived another 33 years and he and Sarah dedicated much of their lives to the work of the organization that is now named in their honor.
- Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit organization that helps draft, implement, and defend laws, policies, and programs to reduce gun violence. The organization is led by—and named after—former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound inflicted during a “Congress On Your Corner” event in Arizona in 2011.
- Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization made up of millions of mayors, teachers, survivors, gun owners, students, and everyday Americans to end gun violence and save lives through combining minds in research, policy, litigation, advocacy and grassroots organizing.
- The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, a statewide domestic violence coalition representing survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals at the local, state, and national level to pass legislation towards the common goal of advancing the safety and healing of victims, survivors, and their families.
- Students Demand Action, a grassroots student coalition with chapters all over the country that advocates for common sense gun safety laws, elects gun sense candidates at local, state and national levels, educates peers and communities on gun safety issues and solutions, registers new voters, and mobilizes their peers to end gun violence.
- Moms Demand Action, a grassroots coalition led by mothers with chapters all over the country fighting for public safety measures that protect people from gun violence.
- Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bi-partisan coalition of more than a thousand current and former mayors across the nation advocating for life-saving gun safety reforms from local programs to state and federal legislation.
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a national coalition committed to preventing and ending sexual violence by advancing equity and eradicating oppression to create a world free from violence where the dignity of every person is valued and respected.
Community-Based Organizations and Programs
There are numerous community-based organizations and programs focused on preventing and reducing gun violence. Many of these programs were established as a direct response to the death of a loved one in the community due to gun violence. Some examples include:
- Turning Guns Into Art: A foundation partners with local artists to repurpose the gun materials collected during gun buybacks into art.
- Ceasefire Programs: A program that provides resources and support for mediation of “ceasefire agreements”.
- Male Conflict Resolution: A non-profit that provides specialized programing for men to work together with other men to learn new ways to deal with relationship tension and conflict.
- Prevention Programs for At-Risk Youth: A center focused on prevention work with at risk youth, including education programs, community health and counseling, youth organizing, and healing through media and arts.
- Peacemaker Programs: A peacemaker fellowship program, training individuals to act as “peacemakers” in the community, serving young people involved in gangs with the goal of ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence.
- Support Groups for Victims of Gun Violence: A support group that provides ongoing compassionate support and services to ease the traumatic impact of violence on homicide and crime victim-survivors.
- Restorative Justice Programs: A program that attempts to heal the wounds of crime and violent crime by helping offenders understand and accept responsibility for the injury they have caused and, by through efforts to make the victim whole again, discourage them from inflicting future harm.
1 The Office of the City Attorney in San Diego has developed a robust program to increase the availability of GVRO’s in the City of San Diego. For any City Attorney or County Counsel looking to learn about San Diego’s program and implement a similar program in their own jurisdiction, Governor Newsom has allocated funding to the San Diego City Attorney to offer GVRO trainings.