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Seattle Councilmember Morales, KC Councilmember Zahilay, Applaud Olympia Efforts to Stem Gun Violence

Seattle City
Councilmember Tammy
J. Morales
(District 2, South Seattle and Chinatown/International
District) and King County Councilmember Girmay
Zahilay
(District 2) applaud Olympia lawmakers’ efforts to address gun
violence by creating the Washington Office of Firearm Prevention. 

Senate
Bill 6288
was passed by the State Senate and House, creating the nation’s
first firearm prevention office, pending the Governor’s signature. The office
will be tasked with collecting and analyzing data on firearm violence. The
office would work with law enforcement agencies, health institutions and others
to centralize the data, which could then be used to understand where gun
violence is happening in the state, why, and how to prevent it through early
intervention programs. 

“I want to thank Senator
Manka Dhingra who introduced and shepherded this bill. She understands the
impact gun violence has had in our communities, particularly my district,
where we grieve the lives of young, black and brown boys and girls, whose
promising futures are cut short due to gun violence,” Councilmember Morales
said. “Having a centralized office, one that uses a data-driven
approach to prevent firearm violence, will allow political leaders to create
better policies to effectively address gun violence. The bill also creates a
grant program, investing in programs which are created by and for communities
most impacted by gun violence, programs that have proven time and again to be
the very best way to interrupt cycles of violence that terrorize too many of
our communities. Along with developing best practices for therapy, firearms
safety, and suicide prevention, the duties assigned to the Office are essential
to mitigate the devastating effects of gun violence.”

“The most effective responses to gun violence around the country
utilize data and resources to empower community-based interruptions to
violence,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. “Thanks to the
efforts by Sen. Dhingra, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility and
countless others, we will finally have a central place to convene stakeholders,
analyze data and ultimately support community outreach coordinators who are
working in their neighborhoods to intervene before another life is needlessly
taken.”

The office’s approach will
be modeled on King County Prosecuting
Attorney’s Office’s Shots
Fired project
, which uses a public health approach to stem gun violence.
The project found every year, 155 King County residents die from gunshots and
another 150 are hospitalized.

Morales and Zahilay have
worked collaboratively with community in their districts in South Seattle,
which has expressed ongoing concerns around gun violence and public safety, particularly
around youths.

Senate
Bill 6288
is poised to return to the Senate for concurrence, and to the
Governor to sign. Morales and Zahilay said they look forward to Gov. Inslee
signing this bill.