Press Release

Giffords Applauds Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature for Funding Programs that Saves Lives Through Urban Gun Violence Initiatives

With legislative approval and the governor’s signature, additional $10 million in supplemental funding helps the state continue to address urban gun violence through expanded support of evidence-based public health programs.

October 24, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature for appropriating $10 million in supplemental funding for a new neighborhood-based violence prevention pilot program focused on high-risk youth in communities with high rates of violence.

Today’s funding shows Massachusetts’ leadership in tackling gun violence by investing in programs that seek to reduce the risk young people face both inside and out of the classroom. It is crucial that young people can feel safe wherever they are: in school, at the park, at church, or in their homes—safe not just from school shootings but also the tragically routine violence that endangers young people in communities across America.

“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in investing in effective gun violence intervention initiatives,” said Mike McLively, Giffords Law Center’s urban gun violence initiative director. “Gun violence is a public health crisis that demands innovative ideas and support for neighborhoods reeling from tragedy. We applaud Governor Baker and the state legislature for investing in a new violence prevention pilot program that will help fill critical gaps in underserved communities and save more young people from violence. Massachusetts lawmakers’ commitment to effective violence prevention work has made the state a national model and one of the safest states in the country. With this new pilot program, Massachusetts will continue to build on that record of lifesaving leadership.”

Each year, nearly 115,000 people in the United States are shot. Underserved neighborhoods bear the brunt of this epidemic—black men makeup 6% of the nation’s population but account for more than half of gun homicide victims each year.

Massachusetts began investing in community-based gun violence reduction strategies in 2006. From 2010 to 2015, the state’s gun homicide rate fell by 35% while nationally the rate rose 14%.

The state’s approach has become a national model for effective, evidence-based violence prevention initiatives, particularly through investments in the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI). In a 2017 report titled, Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence highlighted SSYI as one of the most innovative and effective state-level violence reduction programs operating anywhere in the nation and concluded that SSYI has been one of the driving factors behind Massachusetts’s impressive reductions in gun violence in recent years.