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A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.

April 28, 2022

This report illustrates the enormous toll gun violence has in the U.S. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the 2020 CDC firearm fatality data, which was made public in December 2021; a look at demographic and state-level geographic differences; and a comparison of other injury fatalities. The report also highlights evidence-based policy recommendations states can implement to help curb gun violence in all its forms.

Community-Based Violence Interventions: Proven Strategies To Reduce Violent Crime

June 15, 2022

Across America, communities are struggling to combat rising gun violence. Although overall crime rates remain low, the sale of firearms and instances of gun homicides have caused violent crime to increase dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, homicides increased a staggering 28 percent, and those homicides were largely driven by guns. This violence has especially harmed communities of color, who have been disproportionately affected by not only gun violence but also economic setbacks stemming from the pandemic.In response to the rising rates of gun violence, many advocates and stakeholders are calling for community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs. These programs have proven successful in reducing gun violence and violent crime more broadly in communities over the past two decades—in some communities by as much as 60 percent. Despite proven effectiveness, CVI programs often do not have sufficient resources, making broader implementation efforts challenging. As interest around CVIs continues to grow, this fact sheet explains how CVI programs can help address gun violence and provide the necessary resources to communities most in need.

Data Reveals Violence Among Youth Under 18 Has Not Spiked in the Pandemic

June 14, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, a flurry of alarming news coverage and inflammatory rhetoric from politicians have appeared in national and local media highlighting serious violent crimes by youth. The issue has generated considerable political attention in Congress and across the country, and it has fueled calls to scale back youth justice reforms enacted in many states and to derail proposed reforms in others.This report explains why these calls for a return to get-tough youth justice policies are misguided, based on a false narrative regarding recent trends in youth crime and what actually works to prevent delinquency and promote youth success.Our nation must always take vigilant action steps to increase public safety, starting with common sense gun regulations to limit access to deadly weapons. But the nation must be clear-eyed about the nature and dimensions of youth violence and cannot allow media-fueled concerns over crime or election-year political posturing to distract attention from efforts to mobilize urgently needed social, emotional, and mental health support for young people in their schools and communities.The Sentencing Project's review of the available data about youth violence during the pandemic finds scarce evidence of a youth-led crime wave. Rather, most of the data suggest that youth violence has been flat or declining.

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons

June 10, 2022

The United States is witnessing another year of record gun violence, raising domestic and international scrutiny of its comparatively loose gun laws and placing pressure on lawmakers to enact meaningful reforms.

Gun Violence Is Having a Devastating Impact on Young People

June 10, 2022

From 2019 to 2020, gun homicides among children and teenagers rose dramatically. As a result, firearms are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 17. In addition, young Americans are suffering from a rapid and devastating rise in school shootings, increasingly mourning the loss of a parent due to firearm-related violence, and experiencing nonfatal gunshot injuries and gunshot threats at an alarming frequency.Despite these concerning trends, some elected officials refuse to protect our youth from gun-related crimes. Instead, they are blocking commonsense gun safety laws and even pushing for counterproductive measures that would further endanger children and teenagers. This must change. 

Texas AFT Respect Us Expect Us Survey Stats

June 8, 2022

In the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, we surveyed school employees and parents about their reactions and concerns:90% of Texas school employees have worried about a shooting happening at their school.42% of those employees said the Uvalde shooting may affect their decision to return.Still, 77% of Texas school employees reject the idea that teachers should be armed in the classroom.Instead, high majorities of both Texas school employees and parents support red-flag laws (87%), required background checks (87%), raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 (85%), and even a ban on assault weapons (75%).Additionally, 96% of survey respondents support the Texas Legislature increasing funding for public education to invest in mental health resources and make meaningful security upgrades. The emphasis here is on meaningful: Uvalde CISD received $69,000 from a one-time, $100 million state grant to enhance physical security in Texas public schools, according to TEA data.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs

June 3, 2022

States, cities, and rural communities across the United States are grappling with rising gun violence. While overall crime rates dropped from 2019 to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a spike in firearm sales and gun homicides, growing mistrust between police and the communities they serve, and great economic and social instability. Black and Hispanic communities disproportionately bear the brunt of this instability: They are not only experiencing increased gun violence to a greater degree but also have been hardest hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic and have had resources divested from them for generations.In order to respond to gun violence and address its root causes, communities most affected are banding together to advocate for greater investments in resources outside the criminal legal system that increase safety. Community stakeholders are also working together with their local governments in new and innovative ways to respond to instances of violence and protect their neighborhoods. These include supporting community reinvestment initiatives and building new violence prevention and intervention programs. One tool that is gaining popularity and has proved to be effective is community-based violence interventions (CVI). CVI programs serve as a vital way to connect community resources to the people who need them most, addressing the root causes of gun violence in a holistic way that cannot be done by law enforcement or local government alone.This report addresses some of the most frequent questions around CVI programs. It provides guidance not only to community leaders but also to policymakers seeking to engage with and support these programs.

The Recent Rise in Violent Crime Is Driven by Gun Violence

June 3, 2022

The rising violent crime rates over the past two years is a major issue that elected officials must address immediately. While many have blamed the criminal justice reform movement for the rise in violent crime, the fact is that these increases in violent crime can largely be attributed to an alarming escalation in gun violence. If elected officials are serious about stopping violent crime, they need to prioritize and support stronger gun laws.This fact sheet provides telling data on the link between gun violence and rising crime rates.

Creating Safe and Vibrant Communities for All New Yorkers

June 2, 2022

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) released its budget report, Creating Safe and Vibrant Communities for all New Yorkers, a community-driven rebuke of the mayor's proposed FY23 budget. Mayor Eric Adams' proposed budget has been heavily criticized and condemned by community members across the city for continuing regressive and failed policing patterns of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations and further bloating the NYPD budget while crucial community services receive comparatively microscopic investments. According to CPR's budget report, the mayor is proposing the largest-ever NYPD budget -- $11.2 billion, with minuscule investments in community-led violence prevention and intervention solutions that actually work.

Defending Democracy in Exile: Understanding and Responding to Transnational Repression

June 1, 2022

Over the past year, governments around the world have engaged in increasingly brazen attempts to stifle dissent by attacking critics who live abroad. Belarusian authorities forced an international airliner to land so they could detain a journalist who was on board. Iranian agents conspired to kidnap a women's rights activist from her home in Brooklyn. Turkish intelligence officers abducted the nephew of a political figure from outside a police station in Nairobi. These audacious acts of transnational repression, in which governments reach across national borders to silence opposition among diaspora and exile communities, demonstrated a dangerous disregard for international law, democratic norms, and state sovereignty.Despite growing awareness of the problem, transnational repression remains a global threat to human rights and democratic values because few tools exist to protect its intended targets. People who are brave enough to stand up to autocrats can feel abandoned. As one human rights defender described it, "If I'm being honest with you, we're really alone in this." While autocrats in origin states work together to threaten them, exile and diaspora communities must contend with unprepared immigration and security agencies in host countries. They are named in abusive Interpol notices, experience reprisals for interacting with UN agencies, and must withstand sophisticated digital campaigns designed to surveil and harass them.The tactics of transnational repression are powerful because they have evolved to take advantage of the connection and openness brought by globalization. Perpetrator states have turned institutions and practices of host governments, international partnerships, and communication technologies against the vulnerable people they shelter.This report, the second in a series by Freedom House on transnational repression, examines the ways in which nondemocratic governments are pursuing their critics abroad, what governments that host exiles and diasporas can do to protect individuals targeted by foreign states, and where gaps in existing safeguards remain.

Gun Violence Prevention: A Guide for Advocates

May 26, 2022

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 998 registered voters from May 19-May 23, 2022. 102 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 62 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 105 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 102 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters. The survey was conducted online, recruiting respondents from an opt-in online panel vendor. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the national registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables.Key takeawaysThe violent crimes Americans are most concerned about include mass shootings, gun violence, and hate crimes – with Black and AAPI Americans most concerned about hate crimes.Majorities feel gun violence, mass shootings, and hate crimes are a crisis or major issue of our time, and nearly three in five Americans want stronger gun laws.Three in five say Washington has not done enough to prevent gun violence and that we have not done enough to reform laws to reduce violence in schools, houses of worship, and other public places.

What Counties and Cities Can Do To Curb Gun Violence in Texas

May 25, 2022

Gun violence presents a significant challenge in Texas, approximately half of whose residents own a firearm and where a person is killed with a gun every two hours. High levels of gun ownership coupled with Texas' high rate of gun violence create a danger to public health.According to Rand Corp., an average of 46 percent of Texas residents owned a firearm from 1980 to 2016. However, this percentage likely increased after 2020, when the country saw a surge in gun sales associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, estimates suggest that 32 percent of U.S. adults owned a firearm by the end of 2020. Texas is also home to numerous federal firearm licensed (FFL) dealers. Information from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) indicates that as of January 2022, the state had almost 10 percent--5,089--of all FFL dealers in the country. Studies also report that thousands of gun shows6 are organized in Texas every year.