With protests scheduled for Saturday following mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Buffalo, New York, gun control advocates hope to ramp up pressure on Congress to pass laws and additional funding for research to help curb growing violence.
And they say they are prepared to use philanthropic money and their own fundraising to sustain their advocacy until public attention forces meaningful change.
Noah Lumbantobing, spokesperson for March for Our Lives, says he has already seen the strategy succeed.
After the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, students trained anti-gun violence group and led mass protests across the country. In response, the administration of former President Donald Trump banned bump stocks, which were the prop a shooter used to kill scores at a country music festival in las vegas Last year.
“Trump is not our friend – we know that,” Lumbantobing said, speaking through the din of protests outside the National Rifle Association Convention in Houston last month. “He’s not our political ally, but the temperature in the country got so high he couldn’t ignore us.”
This time, March for Our Lives and other gun control groups plan to mobilize supporters to push Congress to demand universal background checkspass red flag laws allowing confiscation of firearms in certain cases and raise the age limit for purchasing certain weapons.
That said, they recognize that political leaders have failed to deliver meaningful action on gun control in America.
“If it hadn’t been for the movement, I wouldn’t have any faith in politicians,” Lumbantobing, 26, based in New York, told The Associated Press. “But given that the movement is so strong and it’s so clear that it’s so strong, I think something is going to happen.”
In a speech last week, President Joe Biden proposed many reforms, including reinstating a ban on the sale of assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as implementing background checks and red flag laws. At the same time, he made it clear that he recognizes Republican opposition makes it unlikely that most of these changes will become law.
“I know how difficult it is,” he said. “But I will never give up. And if Congress fails, I believe that this time the majority of the American people will not give up either.
Polls show that Republican resistance to gun control does not reflect the views of a majority of Americans. Most American adults think mass shootings would happen less often if guns were harder to get and think schools and other public places have become less safe than they were two decades ago, a poll has found.
Nonprofits, community groups and advocacy organizations say they understand why gun violence happens and how to reduce it, including interventions that don’t require legislation.
Increasing research funding, investing in frontline organizations working to prevent gun violence, donating to advocacy groups and participating in mass movements, advocates say, can help reduce deaths and injuries Gunshot.
Although gun violence is a leading cause of death in the United States, Congress has allocated few funds over the years to study it. Gun Violence Research was effectively halted in 1996 by an amendment to a federal spending bill. That suspension was overturned in 2018 after the Parkland shooting. Congress has allocated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US National Institutes of Health to fund research on gun violence.
According to Andrew Morral, director of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, this 20-year federal funding gap means gun violence has received less study than other deadly public health issues like car crashes, smoking or HIV.
“We don’t have big data,” said Morral, a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. “We don’t have a large number of researchers working on this.”
Last year, Arnold Ventures and the Joyce Foundation commissioned an analysis to find out how much would that cost the government to fund research and collect data on gun violence. Their conclusion: $600 million over five years.
“We’re not talking about $10, and we’re not talking about $25 billion; it’s a problem that can be solved,” said Asheley Van Ness, director of Arnold Ventures which oversees gun violence research. Donors other than the federal government could contribute.
“Philanthropy plays a unique role in American public policy as a catalyst for change, often paving the way forward for government to follow,” Van Ness said.
Responding to a jump in firearm homicides in 2020the Biden administration authorized municipalities to direct U.S. bailout funds last June toward gun violence reduction strategies, including community violence intervention programs.
The administration has also partnered with a dozen foundations to build capacity for community violence intervention programs in 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington and St. Louis. The Violence Intervention Health Alliance, which supports gun victims as they recover and encourages them and their loved ones not to retaliate, provides training and technical support for the initiative.
Jason Coburn, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted assessments for a violence-stopping organization, Advance Peace, which started in Richmond, Calif., and now works in several cities across the country.
Advance Peace programs rely on mentors who know their communities well and who have often been implicated and imprisoned for crimes committed with firearms. Their personal stories give them credibility with those most likely to be involved in gun violence. But it also means that local governments may be reluctant to fund their jobs.
“That’s where I think philanthropy can step in and provide that kind of support,” Coburn said.
Ten years ago, the Joyce Foundation launched a funding collaboration, the Fund for a Safer Future, which pools resources to reduce gun violence. Scott Moyer, president of the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation and a member of the fund’s executive committee, says this allows foundations or major donors who are interested but do not have close connections or an in-depth understanding of gun violence to have an impact.
The fund also donates to organizations that help advocate for gun regulations and advocate for policy — which Moyer says is allowed despite restrictions that prohibit nonprofits from engaging in lobbying. Politics.
The fund also allows donors who wish to remain anonymous to participate. Yet, he suggested, it is better to speak out against gun violence and visibly support funding solutions.
“Some people see gun violence issues as too political,” Moyer said. “And I would push that away and just say, ‘People are dying. “”
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