Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention
Strong communities are safe communities. Housed within the Community Services Division of the Department of Commerce, the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention (OFSVP) is dedicated to supporting policies, strategies and programs with a goal of better understanding and reducing firearm violence in communities across Washington.
The Legislature created OFSVP in 2020 (Ch. 43.330A RCW). The responsibilities of the office include:
- Creating and maintaining a network of community intervention and reduction programs across the state
- Developing best practice guidance and providing technical assistance
- Identifying promising practices within Washington or in other states or countries, and supporting efforts to scale up or replicate those practices across the state
- Convening gatherings and hosting training to bring together state and national experts and community participants
- Identifying steps to improve the availability and quality of firearm data in Washington through information collection and data sharing.
- Identifying and administering state, federal and private funding for grant programs focused on reducing firearm violence in Washington communities
- Issuing a bi-annual report and policy recommendations to policymakers.
In the time since this statewide office was launched, OFSVP has made strategic investments in evidenced-based violence reduction strategies across the state. The office has collaborated closely with subject matter experts within the state and nationally to ensure our efforts are keeping up with unprecedented research and understanding of the causes of firearm violence and emerging strategies to achieve reductions.
OFSVP works hand-in-hand with policymakers, public health officials, government entities, law enforcement agencies, researchers, community organizations and individual community members. We prioritize building violence prevention and intervention capacity through engagement, outreach and technical assistance, and using data validated by our community partners to inform funding decisions.
OFSVP funds three types of violence reduction strategies: intervention, prevention and planning.
- Intervention strategies are more immediate and interface with the populations and communities at highest risk for being victims or perpetrators of firearm violence.
- Prevention strategies have a broader reach and touch at risk populations who may not yet – but could be anticipated to be – engaged in firearm violence.
- Planning strategies are designed to bring community partners together to create and implement a plan for culturally-relevant, sustainable strategies that respond to specific local needs.
Examples of Emerging Intervention Strategies
Group violence intervention
Interventions for groups of high-risk individuals designed to give a sense of community (e.g., Group Violence Intervention – National Network for Safe Communities);
Hospital-based violence intervention
Interventions taking place with gunshot victims that begin in hospitals but may continue after the victim leaves the hospital (e.g., The HAVI);
Street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing credible messengers working with individuals in high-risk areas (“hot spots”) within communities (e.g., Cure Violence, Operation Ceasefire); or
Collaborative Community-Driven Violence Reduction and Planning Models
Intervention programs in early development and testing that are unique or specific to the community;
Intervention and prevention programs that are ready for geographic or participant expansion;
Intervention programs that include positive youth and young adult engagement, that are asset-based and focus on community and individual strengths;
Street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing outreach workers with shared lived experience working with individuals in high-risk areas (“hot spots”) within communities;
Public health approaches
Interventions that include a wide range of experts to determine the problem, identify key risk factors, develop evidence-based policies and programs, and ensure effective implementation and evaluation; or
Programs that specifically target at-risk youth for individual intervention using data from partners which could include public, schools, law enforcement, or court systems.
OFSVP Support Pages
Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention
- News Release: OFSVP is emerging as a national leader in evidence-based and community-supported strategies to end gun violence.
- **NEW** Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention 2023 Report to Legislature (PDF)
- OFSVP presentation to Senate Law & Justice Committee (PDF)
- White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention Announcement
- Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention 2021 Report to Legislature
- OFSVP Press Release February 24, 2022
- Story on Commerce’s Medium site
- OFSVP Newsletter (June 1, 2021)
- To end gun violence, build on what works (Medium.com)
- University of Washington Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program
- Harborview Three Interventions Toolkit, Firearm Safe Storage, Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights, & Extreme Risk Protection Order
- Gun Violence, King County
- The State of Gun Violence in Washington, Giffords Law Center, 2021
- Crime Victim Resources
- National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College
- National Gun Violence Archive
- Investing in Intervention: the Critical Role of State-Level Support | Giffords
- Gun Violence Resource Hub
- The BulletPoints Project
- Everytown – The One Thing You Can Do Resource
- ATF National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment – Crime Guns
- King County Gun Violence Data – Crime Strategies Unit
- Firearm Suicide Prevention & Lethal Means Safety – REACH
- End Family Fire
- US Dept. of Justice: Violent Crime Reduction Roadmap
Community Safety Programs
OFSVP Advisory Committee Members
- Sarah Augustine, Dispute Resolution centers and Walk About Yakima
- Devitta Briscoe, Gun Violence Prevention Liaison, City of Seattle
- Dan Carew, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
- Gregory Engel, MD, Board Member, Washington CeaseFire
- Shalisa Hayes, Violence Prevention activist, Community leader
- Renee Hopkins, CEO, Alliance for Gun Responsibility
- Deepika Nehra, MD – Associate Program Director, Trauma/Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, Associate Faculty Member, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center
- Melanie-Angela Neuilly, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Washington State University
- Laura Prater, Ph.D., MPH, MHA, Acting Assistant Professor, Dep’t of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Program Director, Research Translation, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Washington
- Donnitta Sinclair, Gun violence prevention activist, Community member
Steve Strachan, Executive Director, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs
- Cheryl Stumbo, Manager of the Everytown Survivor Network, survivor of the 2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting
- Sarah Sumadi, Associate Regional Director, Everytown for Gun Safety
- Eric Trupin, Ph.D., Psychologist and Professor of University of Washington Psychiatry and Behavioral Science