February 16, 2022
This report urges us to think carefully about the relationship between gun violence prevention and racial equity. Racial equity impact assessments (REIAs), such as the assessment proposed in this report, guide advocates, policy makers, and researchers through a thorough examination of policies with an equity lens to anticipate the potential outcomes and mitigate foreseeable risks. It requires one to ask fundamental questions about when to justify involvement with the criminal legal system, identify the costs and benefits of engagement, and think about alternatives to minimize harm. This framework acknowledges that solutions to gun violence, however well intentioned they may be, can exacerbate or compound upon the harms suffered by impacted communities if they are made without careful analysis and the input of those directly affected by it.Gun violence affects everyone. It inflicts an enormous burden upon our country, particularly within under-resourced Black and Latino/Hispanic communities. The politics of guns and race have long been intertwined, but racial equity only recently became a focal point of discussions among gun violence prevention groups, catalyzed by the advocacy of community-based and BIPOC-led organizations.In partnership with many stakeholders across the gun violence prevention movement, this racial equity framework is a resource that can be used by policymakers, researchers, and organizations working in gun violence prevention. Representatives from the six authoring organizations comprised a small working group to plan development of the report and convened a series of conversations to share proposals and review feedback from expert contributors. In addition to advancing racial equity, the core values of inclusion, collaboration, and consensus-building guided the project from early stages through completion.Building upon existing racial equity work and guidance, this report is informed by the public health model of social determinants of health and has been tailored to the specific needs of gun violence prevention. The tools and recommendations proposed in this report are derived from relevant academic literature, racial equity impact assessments, and frameworks for building more equitable social movements.The racial equity framework for gun violence prevention is divided into three main sections: The first section introduces the most relevant considerations about gun policy and race. It helps contextualize the issue of racial disparities in gun violence and the role of the criminal legal system. The second section is the racial equity impact assessment tool (REIA) for gun violence prevention policy. It includes the analysis of the foundational assessments that were considered to develop the tool and a practical explanation of each of the questions that comprise the REIA. The third section provides resources to build a more equitable gun violence prevention movement. It describes the need to center and invest in BIPOC-led organizations and presents a set of recommendations for developing and sustaining a more equitable gun violence prevention movement.