Seattle leaders propose gun violence prevention measures

Seattle leaders propose gun violence prevention measures

By: HIPRC Date: April 5th, 2018

Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center faculty are adding their voices to the conversation around gun violence prevention measures in Seattle, including a number of recent proposals by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council Member Lorena González.

At a press conference at Harborview Medical Center on March 21, Durkan announced she and González would propose specific city legislation aimed at reducing gun violence and its harms. The three proposals include safe firearm storage requirements, investment into studies on supporting gun violence survivors at University of Washington and HIPRC, and building awareness of Seattle’s Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

“In Seattle, we are proud to be a city taking tangible action on gun violence,” González said.

Helping Individuals with Firearm Injuries at HIPRC, or HiFi, is studying the impacts of connecting gun violence survivors with support and social services, with the goal of preventing future injuries. The study is led by HIPRC Violence Prevention section lead Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, M.D., MPH.

Core member and Fred Rivara, M.D., MPH, also spoke at the press conference and demonstrated the potential ease and speed of opening a gun safe. He cited research that shows safe firearm storage, defined as locking up guns and ammunition securely and separately, helps protect kids and teens from both intentional and unintentional gun injuries and deaths.

“Time and time again we see young children getting access to guns who do not understand the consequences of an accidental discharge, or adolescents after suicide attempts with a parent’s unsecured gun,” he said, referring to his work as a pediatrician at Harborview Medical Center. “The data supporting safe storage of guns is really overwhelming.”

He also noted that Seattle was the first U.S. city to fund gun violence research, and “That research and the mayor’s commitment to this will allow us to further study policies that will help our leaders in reducing the toll from gun violence,” he said. His full remarks are available at the Seattle website.

HIPRC Director Monica Vavilala, M.D., also represented the center at the press conference.

The announcement came after a Seattle town hall meeting on gun violence, also called by Durkan, on March 8. At that meeting, Rivara added his point of view as a researcher who studies gun violence, highlighting that more than half of the gun deaths in Washington state are suicides and advocating for the benefits of safe firearm storage.