If left wants to fight 'gun
violence', then focus on violence

stevepb / Pixabay

By Tom Knighton. May 11, 2022

A lot of gun rights advocates bristle at the term “gun violence.” I don’t, but many of you do, and you’re not without good reason to do so. Especially since it somehow pretends that there’s literally no other kind of violence that should demand our attention.

There is, and if there were no guns, we’d still have tons of violence because the underlying causes still remain. Yet so many can only see the guns.

So when the Center for American Progress talks about offices of gun violence, you’ve got to wonder where they’re trying to go.

Communities across the country, both big cities and rural areas, are grappling with rising gun violence. While overall crime rates in the United States have declined, violent crime increased 5.6 percent between 2019 and 2020. Furthermore, 79 percent of all U.S. homicides in 2020 involved a gun. This increase in gun violence is in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which produced a spike in gun sales, great economic and social instability, and breakdowns in police-community relations. Black and other communities of color are experiencing this spike in gun violence most acutely; these communities have for generations seen a divestment in resources and have been the hardest hit economically by the pandemic.

To respond to the present moment in ways that address the root causes of gun violence, communities are advocating for greater investments in resources that produce safety outside the criminal legal system. These include affordable housing, greater access to physical and mental health care, education, and increased employment opportunities. Community stakeholders are also working together with their local governments in new and innovative ways to respond to instances of violence in their neighborhoods and to prevent further harm—such as by establishing civilian offices of violence prevention (OVPs). [...] .....


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