Friends Meeting of Washington: Resources on gun violence prevention

This factsheet has been prepared to share resources about the campaign for gun violence prevention (GVP) for Quakers and other concerned individuals in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Easy-to-use “short links” are inserted in bold here so that all readers, whether of the online or print version, can use them to gain more information from online sources.

More than 30,000 people lose their lives to gun violence every year in the United States and more than 70,000 are injured by guns. Of the lives lost to guns, more than 20,000 are suicides.

In 2017, the U.S. rate of deaths from gun violence was 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people. That was nine times as high as the rate in Canada, which had 0.47 deaths per 100,000 people — and 29 times as high as in Denmark, which had 0.15 deaths per 100,000.

Currently, most attention in our region is on the Virginia legislature, where Gov. Ralph Northam has introduced four significant gun-control measures in the 2020 session of the legislature. These bills are expected to pass both houses of the legislature with few amendments, but have aroused strong opposition from gun-rights activists nationwide. The bills would:

  • require background checks on all firearms purchases,
  • allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others (known as an “Extreme Risk Protective Order” (ERPO), or previously as a “Red Flag law”.)
  • let localities ban weapons from certain events and government buildings, and
  • cap handgun purchases at one per month.

Local DC/Virginia issues

  • Incompatible Allies: Black Lives Matter, March 4 Our Lives and the US Debate about Guns and Violence. Portal (with trailer) to a 43-minute film produced by Grassroots DC that adds the voices of students from across DC to the national discussion on gun violence. “For information about obtaining a DVD of the full documentary and/or scheduling a screening within the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area, please contact”
  • January 2019 news report (WTOP) on homicides in DC rising from 116 in 2017 to 160 in 2018.
  • Description and analysis of the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, passed by the Council of the District of Columbia in March 2016 in response to an increase in homicides the previous year. The NEAR Act employs a public-health approach to reducing gun violence. This web-page contains much useful data about levels of gun violence in the District.
  • Website of the Peace Fellowship Church in the Deanwood neighborhood, with information about their periodic Peace Walks.
  • Jan. 13, 2020 news report (WUSA9) on Mayor Bowser’s letter to Virginia legislative leaders about VA-origin guns pouring into District. It includes this graphic:
  •  Portal from the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, to information specifically about gun-control efforts in Virginia.

Quaker issues

  • FCNL’s portal on Gun Violence Prevention, with links to numerous other resources.
  • 55-minute video of June 2019 discussion at FCNL on GVP efforts, with Diane Randall and Peter Murchison, a member of Wilton Friends Meeting in Connecticut who lost his nephew in the Sandy Hook killing.
  • Information from FCNL on legislative efforts to have the CDC resume funding gun violence research after being prevented since 1996 from doing so.
  • September 2019 update from FCNL’s Andre Gobbo on the three GVP bills currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.
  • Website of Friends Fiduciary, an organization that seeks to invest in a Quakerly, socially responsible way. Their investment guidelines include this: “We exclude from our portfolios companies whose business involves the production, distribution, and/or direct support of weapons or weapons components.”
  • Thought-provoking 50-minute video of Prof. Priya Satia of Stanford talking about the role that a Birmingham UK Quaker family played leading one of Britain’s biggest gun-manufacturing companies for the whole 18th century, at a time of Britain’s worldwide imperial expansion.

Gun-control initiatives currently being considered by Congress

  • Statement by Rep. Gabby Giffords decrying the failure of the U.S. Senate to consider H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which requires a background check on every gun sale or transfer. The House of Representatives passed the legislation last February.
  • Info on the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, introduced in Congress in June. This is the third or fourth time some Members of Congress have introduced this bill, which would repeal the special protections against liability that a 2005 law gave to the gun industry.
  • Web-page to track H.R. 674: Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2019, a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to fund CDC research on firearms safety or GVP.

Other US-wide efforts, organizations

  • Website of the Community Action Justice Fund, a nonprofit organization building power for and with communities of color to end gun violence.
  • Website of March for Our Lives, the GVP activist organization created by  survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, FL.  In August, M4OL released a 6-point “Peace Plan”.
  • Website of the DC-based, nationwide Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which has many great resources on it.
  • Website of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. It has many great resources including these factsheets and information specific to Virginia and other sate-level efforts.
  • Brady United, a veteran organization working for GVP. The organization is named for Pres.  Reagan’s Press Secretary James Brady who suffered very serious brain injury when an assailant tried to shoot Pres. Reagan in 1981. The website has a wealth of information and a 12-point plan (digest, at right).
  • Giffords, the GVP organization created by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords after she was severely wounded by a shooter in 2011.