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Surging Gun Violence: Where We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We Go Next

May 4, 2022

In many communities across the country, gun violence has been an unrelenting drumbeat. In a single deadly day, gun violence claimed the lives of a 31-year-old father in Port Allen, Louisiana; a 43-year-old in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was known as a stylish dresser with a great sense of humor; an 11-year-old in Columbia, Missouri, who loved to dance and play with her cousins; and a 17-year-old in Columbus, Ohio, who was a gifted boxer.Each day, hundreds of lives like these are lost or irrevocably changed as this crisis rages on. But in the last two years, the tempo of this beat has gotten faster. Gun violence has skyrocketed in cities and towns across the country, leaving more devastation and more trauma in its wake. More than 45,000 Americans were killed in acts of gun violence in 2020—a 15% increase over the previous year. This increase was primarily driven by an unprecedented 35% rise in gun homicides. In fact, more people were lost to gun violence in 2020 than any other year on record, and although final data is not yet available, the gun death total in 2021 is likely to surpass these records. This drumbeat is ever-present, but one to which too many have become numb. For too long, this epidemic has gone unchecked, and even as it has spiraled out of control, too many leaders are choosing to do nothing. This moment demands attention, and we must do more to mitigate these increases and protect communities in crisis. This report provides data describing how gun violence has skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021, showing that this historic rise in gun violence has primarily served to intensify this crisis in communities that already suffered the greatest burden. Additionally, this report describes and considers the factors that most likely contributed to these increases, based on available evidence, and makes suggestions for how policymakers can best respond to this unprecedented challenge. We hope that this report can help guide a more nuanced and evidence-informed conversation about how to tackle this problem that will lead to the implementation of tangible, sustainable measures to address it. 

Recent Survey Shows Battleground Voters Demand Stronger Gun Laws to Help Reduce Crime

April 18, 2022

In 2018, voters turned out in record numbers to elect a gun sense majority in Congress. Now, ahead of the November midterm elections, new polling shows gun violence prevention can once again shore up Democratic votes. With voters concerned about rising crime across the country, they are turning to gun violence prevention policies for the answer and are looking for action from elected officials.A recent survey of 2022 voters in U.S. Senate battleground states shows that voters are prioritizing commonsense gun safety reforms to combat crime, especially those voters that Democrats most need to turn out -- and gain back their vote share -- to win: suburban voters, independents, Hispanic voters, and Black voters. 

The Gun Industry’s Advertising: Effective, Deadly, and Actionable

April 7, 2022

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection has a clear mandate: to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace. But, thus far, the FTC has failed to fulfill this mandate with respect to the gun industry. The FTC is failing consumers, failing our democracy, and failing the millions of Americans who have lost their lives or their loved ones to gun violence. The FTC's inaction has also harmed countless more Americans who must live with the scars, trauma, and emotional and economic damage that America's gun violence epidemic, fomented by the gun industry for profit, has caused. The FTC can and must change this. No industry--regardless of its political clout—should be immune from scrutiny of its marketing and advertising.This Petition, brought by Brady, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ("Giffords Law Center"), and March For Our Lives, in partnership with the FACT Coalition (collectively, "Petitioners"), demands that the FTC exercise its broad investigative and enforcement powers to investigate and regulate the gun industry's advertising practices. As we show, the FTC's inaction has allowed the gun industry to spend decades using unfair and deceptive advertising to sell deadly weapons to an American public that has been falsely led to believe that gun ownership is a safe way to protect their home and family. 

Gun Violence in the US Territories

March 7, 2022

One of the shootings happened on the freeway. Another took place at a local community center, where a 17-year-old and three others were shot and killed. Over the course of one weekend, 18 people were shot and at least nine died. Two weekends later, a couple dozen miles away, there were two shootings: one at a shopping mall that injured four people and killed one, and another that ended with the arrest of the shooter, who was later charged with assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of an unlicensed firearm. For many Americans, the stories of these two weekends are tragically familiar. News outlets in major US cities all too often document the body counts of bloody weekends marked by multiple tragic shootings. But gun violence doesn't only happen in big cities. The stories of these two weekends happened in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands—regions that experience some of the highest levels of gun violence in the United States, which often goes under-reported. Gun violence is a uniquely American problem—and it's only getting worse. Within the last 10 years, the firearm mortality rate has risen nearly 18%, with an average of 39,000 Americans dying from gun violence from 2015 to 2019. Over 45,000 Americans died from gun violence in 2020 alone, making it the deadliest year for gun violence in decades--and projections for 2021 suggest that gun violence rates are even higher.  The US firearm mortality rate is already strikingly high, more than 11 times higher than other high-income countries. The US also accounts for nearly 15% of all firearm deaths globally, despite only consisting of four percent of the world's population. This growing epidemic has drawn much attention in the 50 states. But gun violence in the US territories rarely factors into the national conversation. 

Investing in Community Violence Intervention to Reduce Gun Violence in Raleigh

February 28, 2022

Raleigh faces a crisis of gun violence that requires city-level investments in community violence intervention programs (CVI). In 2020, 22 residents died by gun homicide and 96 were shot and wounded. This gun violence disproportionately impacts Black residents in Raleigh, who are ten times more likely to die by gun homicide than their white counterparts. Much of this violence occurs within neighborhoods that face systemic inequities and racial discrimination, and it is highly concentrated among small numbers of people who are caught in cycles of victimization, trauma, and retaliation. 

Research Roundup: An Analysis of Gun Violence Publication Trends in 2021

February 8, 2022

Gun deaths have reached some of their highest levels ever in the past few years. The research field needs to be as strong and responsive as it can be in order to end our current crisis.We hope this review will help researchers, funders, policymakers, and stakeholders in their efforts to produce the kind of actionable, equitable research needed to help save lives.

From Healing to Action: A Toolkit for Gun Violence Survivors and Allies

January 21, 2022

This two-part toolkit aims to give you some of what we wish we'd had the day our lives changed forever, and what we've learned since.Part One is devoted to the emotional needs survivors face. We offer a roadmap of experiences and feelings you may have, and ways to address them. We understand and respect that everyone is different and grieves at a different pace. That's one reason we provide you, in a spirit of humility and love, these tips and anecdotes.We have found that sharing our experiences and trying to make this world a better and more peaceful place has been immensely helpful in our personal healing. Part Two offers suggestions for how to get involved in saving lives from gun violence, if you so choose.

Implementation Toolkit for Gun Safety Laws

July 12, 2021

Giffords Law Center is deeply committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders to identify key components of effective implementation. Our Implementation Toolkit offers information and resources to assist communities with this important and often overlooked aspect of gun violence prevention policies.

Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns Are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People

June 11, 2020

On June 12, 2016, a man fatally shot 49 people and wounded 58 more at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, FL. The victims, primarily LGBTQ and Latinx, were senselessly killed in what was supposed to be a safe space while celebrating their shared identity and Pride month. This horrific tragedy changed the LGBTQ community forever, catalyzing the movement to unite behind gun violence prevention. Pulse is a reminder of the work that remains to end the acts of hate that wound and kill LGBTQ Americans today -- violence that all too often is perpetrated with guns.As the nation marks four years since this tragedy, we must never lose sight of the unfulfilled hopes, the families shattered and the love lost in this preventable act of mass murder. The thousands more killed by gun violence since Pulse underscore the glaring failure of our elected officials to take common sense steps to combat the scourge of gun violence that plagues our nation. Advocates and people across this country must remain as resolved as ever to honor those taken with action, and work to ensure that all of us may live safe from violence.

Ghost Guns: How Untraceable Firearms Threaten Public Safety

May 21, 2020

Ghost guns are untraceable firearms available without a background check.  These guns represent a major threat to public safety that continues to grow.This report explains how ghost guns undermine gun safety laws, with tragic consequences for families and communities across the country, and how we can solve this crisis.

The State of Gun Violence in Florida 2020

January 30, 2020

Florida has made progress strengthening its gun safety laws since the Parkland shooting, yet there remains much more for lawmakers to do to protect the thousands of Floridians who die from gun violence each year. 

2019 Gun Law State Scorecard

January 1, 2020

Each year gun legislation in all 50 states is tracked and analyzed, assigning laws and policies point values. States gain points for strong gun laws and lose points for laws that make their residents less safe. These points are tabulated and the states are ranked and then assigned letter grades. These grades are compared to the most recent gun death rates released by the CDC. Year after year, the evidence shows that states with stronger gun laws tend to have lower gun death rates.