Gun violence is a public health crisis. In order to address the epidemic of gun violence, we need comprehensive and up-to-date data to help us understand what gun violence looks like in our communities and what strategies can work to reduce it. That is why the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation is committed to conducting and supporting groundbreaking gun violence prevention research in Washington state.

In 2013, Seattle became the first city in the nation to directly fund research into the public health impacts of gun violence in the community. One recent study, conducted by the University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, found a remarkable linkage between gun violence and other health risk factors, as well as an extraordinary risk of gunshot victims being victimized again:

  • Individuals hospitalized with an injury and previously arrested for firearms or violence were 13 times more likely to be arrested again within the next five years.
  • Individuals hospitalized for a firearm injury were 30 times more likely to be re-hospitalized for another firearm injury than people admitted to the hospital for non-firearm injury reasons.
  • Individuals hospitalized with a firearm injury were 11 times more likely to die from gun violence within the next five years than people admitted for non-firearm injury reasons.

Interventions with this relatively small number of individuals have the potential to reduce their high risk of recidivism, and reduce firearm violence in Seattle. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is now helping to expand this research into a new study into the best means for intervening with these high-risk communities to reduce their risk of becoming victims of gun violence.

In 2019, the Washington state legislature passed a bill allocating $1 million in state funding to the Harborview Injury and Prevention Research Center (HIPRC) to study risk factors for gun-related injuries and deaths, analyze the impact of gun laws, and develop strategies to reduce the devastating toll of gun violence in the state. Washington is one of only three states that dedicates state funding for research into gun laws and their effectiveness. Future research at HIPRC will analyze Extreme Risk Protection Order and Domestic Violence Protection Order records, evaluate the effectiveness of age restrictions on firearms, and study whether there is a basis for restricting gun ownership among people with substance-abuse issues.

photo credit: Sara Jean Green / The Seattle Times