Effort Backed by $2 Million Investment by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund; Center Will Create Model Approaches and Best Practice Guides for Effective Implementation of Gun Safety Laws
Launch of The Center Comes in the Wake of Mass Shooting Tragedies that Underscore the Deadly Effects of Not Properly Implementing Gun Laws
NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, announced the launch of the Everytown Implementation Center, backed by an initial $2 million investment. The Everytown Implementation Center is a first-of-its-kind effort to provide comprehensive support and guidance to state and local leaders on the effective implementation of lifesaving gun laws. The Center will initially focus on Extreme Risk laws (also known as Red Flag laws).
“Gun laws save lives, but only if they are fully implemented and strongly enforced,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Mass shootings in Buffalo, Highland Park, and Colorado Springs have shown the deadly consequences when the tools aren’t taken out of the toolbox, so Everytown is going to take up the mantle ourselves and provide much-needed support to states working to implement gun safety laws.”
“When Moms Demand Action volunteers fight tooth and nail for gun safety laws in states across the country, we expect they will be properly implemented and enforced,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “By developing best practice guides and providing technical assistance, we’ll make sure a lack of resources, awareness or expertise are no longer excuses for states to not implement and enforce gun safety laws and keep communities safe.”
“Enacting strong gun laws is not the end of the work to protect all communities from gun violence, but rather the beginning,” said Chelsea Parsons, Director of Implementation for Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re ready to help chart the course for states and work with them hand-in-hand to make sure that our gun safety laws are working as designed to save lives.”
The launch of the Center comes in the wake of recent mass shooting tragedies that underscore the deadly effects of when gun laws aren’t properly implemented. In each incident below, the state’s Extreme Risk law (also known as a Red Flag law) — which are on the books in 19 states and Washington, D.C. — could have potentially prevented the shooter from obtaining a firearm. Extreme Risk laws empower loved ones or law enforcement to temporarily prevent violent, hate-filled people from accessing guns.
- Last month, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a hate-filled mass shooting at the LGBTQ+ Club Q resulted in five people being killed and at least 18 more wounded. A year and a half earlier, the shooter was arrested for threatening his mother with a homemade bomb. The suspect’s mother told authorities that her son also threatened her with multiple weapons. Sheriff Bill Elder of El Paso County, where Club Q is located, opposed Colorado’s Extreme Risk law and his department never made use of the law.
- In July, seven people were murdered at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb by another young man whose threats of suicide and murder had brought the police to his house on two occasions.
- In May, ten Black people were murdered at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo by a white supremacist who was referred by law enforcement for a psychiatric evaluation after he wrote in a high school assignment that he wanted to commit a murder-suicide.
The Center will build on Everytown’s years of legal, research and advocacy work to pass crucial gun safety laws to help states and localities develop comprehensive plans to ensure effective implementation of these laws. This will include laws that create an extreme risk protection order process, require universal background checks, ensure the surrender of firearms from domestic abusers and other individuals prohibited from gun possession, and impose regulatory oversight of the gun industry. More specifically, the work of the Center will focus on:
- Identifying gaps in implementation of common sense gun laws;
- Developing innovative approaches to ensure robust and sustainable implementation;
- Creating model approaches and best practice guides for effective implementation;
- Directly supporting state and local efforts to implement gun laws through technical assistance, research, and training;
- Message testing and creative public education campaigns to elevate awareness about key gun laws; and,
- Developing grassroots engagement opportunities for volunteers to participate in implementation campaigns.
The Center will be led by Chelsea Parsons, Everytown’s new Director of Implementation. Parsons comes to Everytown with more than a decade of criminal justice policy experience, including more than eight years leading the gun violence prevention policy program at the Center for American Progress. The Center’s research efforts will be led by Ruhi Bengali, Senior Advisor for Implementation, who brings extensive expertise in research and evaluation of best approaches to gun law implementation. The Center will be supported by Everytown’s extensive legal, research, and government expertise.