Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention

The Legislature created the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention in 2020 to provide statewide leadership, coordination and technical assistance to promote effective state and local efforts to reduce preventable injuries and deaths from firearm violence. The office works with government entities, law enforcement agencies, community-based organizations and individuals through the state to implement evidence-based policies, strategies and interventions to reduce the impacts of firearm violence in Washington’s communities. (Ch. 43.330A RCW)

The Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention launched in March 2021 with a focus on community gun violence. Community (also called urban) gun violence is defined as serious, potentially lethal interpersonal violence that occurs on the street. In Washington and elsewhere, community gun violence has a dramatically disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color, with young men of color being particularly vulnerable. This violence imposes a high physical, emotional, and financial toll on families and communities across the state. Community gun violence is a very particular problem with very particular, well-established solutions.

The services and activities of the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention include:

  • Coordinating the implementation of evidence-based firearm violence intervention and prevention strategies in communities across the state.
  • Facilitating cross-jurisdictional information sharing as well as peer-to-peer learning with meetings, site visits, webinars and conference calls.
  • Offering training and technical assistance from nationally recognized experts.
  • Identifying and improving upon available data sources, data collection methods and data-sharing mechanisms.
  • Issuing best practices guidance and model processes.
  • Administering a firearm violence intervention and prevention grant program.
  • Coordinating state agencies.

In Dec. 2021, the office will report to the appropriate legislative policy committees on its progress and findings in analyzing data, developing strategies to prevent firearm violence, and recommendations for additional legislative policy options.

A data-driven approach to reducing gun violence

Reducing community gun violence requires different policies and strategies than other forms of gun violence such as suicide or domestic violence. Data is crucial for helping identify which communities are experiencing higher rates of homicides. The office will work with those communities to coordinate and help implement evidence-based prevention strategies.

WA map of firearm-related homicides
This heat map shows where there is a higher concentration of firearm-related homicides in Washington (based on the residence of the victim). Data from 2016-2019. Source: Washington Dept. of Health, Center for Health Statistics.

Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention

Resources

Contact

Kate Kelly
Director
Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention
kate.kelly@commerce.wa.gov
360-628-6846

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