How CREDO members helped JHU Center for Gun Violence Solutions curb gun violence

Note from the CREDO Team: In March 2022, CREDO members voted to donate $22,700 to help fund the critical work of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, formerly known as the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. To date, you’ve helped us donate $101,357 to the organization to help curb gun violence. Here’s a quick update on how CREDO members have helped further their important work.

Gun violence can often feel like an intractable problem in the United States. Mass shootings are taking place nearly every day. Some lawmakers respond to record gun deaths with laws that put more guns on our streets. Supreme Court justices overturn existing gun violence protections.

But even in a year with so much bloodshed and tragedy, the gun violence prevention movement — with the help of contributions from organizations like CREDO — has made significant progress, and laid the groundwork for more successes in the near future.

In the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health worked alongside state partners to pass vital and strategic gun violence prevention laws in New York and Delaware within weeks of those deadly incidents.

In Delaware, funding from CREDO helped sustain around-the-clock pressure on lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban, impose limits on high-capacity magazines, strengthen background check laws, raise the purchasing age on firearms to 21, and more. In New York, a state that already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, lawmakers recognized they could do even more, by making it easier for health care providers to seek Extreme Risk Protection Orders which provide a means to remove firearms for those individuals who pose a safety risk to themselves or others, and allowing for the microstamping of bullet cartridges to better identify guns that are used to commit crimes.

The bold, swift action by lawmakers in two states demonstrates the progress that can be made with the right combination of political will and a constant, well-funded pressure campaign. It’s a model that can and should be replicated in statehouses around the country.

But victories this year are not limited to state legislatures. Even as the Supreme Court rolled back gun violence prevention measures by hobbling permit laws, Congress mustered enough support for the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a package of gun laws that — while short of what the Center and others called for — included critically important provisions that will unquestionably save lives.

Incomplete as the package may be, it nevertheless represents the most significant piece of federal gun violence prevention legislation in nearly three decades.

Among the components of the bill are $750 million to fund crisis intervention programs, including extreme risk protection order implementation, $250 million to fund violence interruption programs in communities around the country; strengthening federal background check laws for purchasers aged 18-21; and closing the so-called “gun show loophole” by requiring more private sellers to register as firearm dealers and thus subject them to background check requirements.

And while funding from CREDO helped the Center drive many of these victories at the state and federal levels, the impact of additional resources is perhaps felt most acutely within individual communities. The allocation of funding for violence interruption programming has the potential to make an immediate and profound impact on neighborhoods where gun violence is most prevalent and devastating. Ensuring that state and federal allocations are made in consultation with community organizers and impacted individuals — those who stand on the front lines of our gun violence epidemic — will be a vital next step to ensure this new legislation realizes its full potential.

In the months since CREDO’s investment in the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, much has changed for the better in how we work. We merged with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy to form the new Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. By combining the efforts of our two teams, we created a dynamic and innovative new organization that can better focus on the serious public health implications of gun violence. For example, the new organization has renewed capacity to expand and fine-tune the technical assistance that it provides to the Safer States Initiative network around the country, helping them respond to the ever-changing landscape of gun violence in their communities. Thanks in part to the additional resources provided by CREDO, we are better able to tailor our technical assistance to state organizations and help them meet the specific needs of their regions.

There is far too often a feeling of helplessness looming over the work that gun violence prevention advocates are doing. But as the past year has demonstrated, the concerted effort by activists, lawmakers, and organizations committed to curbing gun violence can make a difference.