Gun violence prevention
Injuries and deaths from gun violence devastate King County families and our community on a daily basis. That's why Executive Constantine directed King County to take a public health approach to gun violence.
A public health approach helps us better understand how and when guns are used unsafely, and then develop solutions that put an end to these preventable injuries and losses.
We have used the same approach to reduce deaths from motor vehicle crashes, accidental poisonings, and tobacco use.
A public health approach to gun violence prevention:
- Is data-driven. This helps us understand who is harmed by guns, who owns guns and how they handle them, and what sellers can do to encourage responsible gun ownership.
- Evaluates programs. Determining what works best and sharing this knowledge with community partners allows us to develop strategies and actions to prevent gun violence.
- Engages the community. We involve gun retailers, gun owners, health care providers, public health researchers, local government, and communities in the solution. We all have a critical role to play.
- Examines the issue at a local level. By looking at who is most affected by gun injury and death, we can focus our strategies where they will have the most impact locally.
Learn more about our public health approach to gun violence prevention.
More gun violence statistics
- Nearly 1/4 of King County households have at least one gun.
- Risk of completed firearm suicide among King County youth is nine times higher when firearms are stored unlocked.
- 39,000 children in King County are living in homes with unlocked firearms.
- Homicide rate by firearms is 20 times higher in some areas of the County than others.
- Statewide, guns were involved in 84 incidents in a school setting during the 2011-2012 school year.
- See more statistics from Public Health – Seattle & King County.
What we're doing at King County
Executive Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hosted a gun violence prevention summit in 2014 at City Hall.
King County is working to assure the community has up-to-date data and information about the nature and extent of gun violence in King County, and convening and engaging with community partners to end gun violence.
Along this line, Executive Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hosted a gun violence prevention summit in 2014, which created a common understanding of existing data that can be used to develop strategies and actions to prevent gun violence.
The summit included representatives from public health, law enforcement, hospitals, schools and colleges, prosecutors, public defenders, and experts from suicide prevention and youth services.
This public education campaign is working to increase safe storage of firearms. King County has partnered with gun retailers to provide discounts on lock boxes.
> Child death review
We are convening a committee of experts to review child deaths in King County. The committee provides recommendations to prevent future tragedies.
Our next steps
King County has started to understand this problem locally, but there's more work to be done. We need even more comprehensive data and better evaluation of prevention programs.
We will continue to provide leadership and convene partners from across sectors to end these avoidable tragedies.
- Gun Violence Prevention Initiative (Public Health)
- LOK-IT-UP: Safely storing firearms
- Fact sheet on gun violence in King County
- Harborview's approach
- City of Seattle's approach
- Seattle Children's approach