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Role of Elected Officials

Logo for Project Cease Fire is South Carolina






Ideas For Action To Reduce Gun Violence

Elected officials have a special responsibility in reducing gun violence and crime; they have accepted a commitment to their community and its residents to make streets safe and help the community prosper. With the decision-making power of elected officials, coupled with the information and know-how from law enforcement, businesses, human service agencies, and residents, effective action can be taken against gun violence and crime.

Increase your knowledge and understanding of gun crime and violence.

  • Learn about state and federal enforcement and prosecution strategies in use in your community.
  • Talk with victims of gun crime to gain their perspective.
  • Attend neighborhood meetings to hear of residents' experiences with, and fear of, gun crime and violence.
  • Ask others how they would prevent gun crime and violence.
  • Discover the power of collaboration among the sectors of the community--law enforcement, businesses, residents, agencies, youth, faith leaders, the media--and promote it.
  • Collaborate with those addressing gun crime and violence to strategically plan how to reduce it. Explore the problems from everyone's perspective (the cause of those problems, barriers to their solution, etc.) and develop steps to solve those problems.
  • Gather information on gun violence reduction research and successful strategies; start with the Project Safe Neighborhoods Web site, www.projectsafeneighborhoods.gov.

Use that knowledge and understanding.

  • Incorporate in all your public comments on the issue the concept that strong enforcement of gun laws is a preventive strategy that takes known criminals off the street and makes the community safer.
  • Infuse the concepts of early identification of violent behavior in individuals and preventive actions into all your meetings, speeches, and writings.
  • Talk about the issue on TV and radio talk shows, coupling with law enforcement, businesses, residents, and others.
  • Encourage human service agencies to incorporate gun crime and violence reduction strategies in their related work in drug abuse prevention, gang violence prevention, and youth programming.
  • Educate the public on penalties for illegal gun possession or trafficking through displaying print public service messages.
  • Lead comprehensive efforts to reduce violence.

Be a resource.

  • Offer services of your jurisdiction, as appropriate, in providing data and other information that will help in strategic planning and analyzing gun crime and violence and their causes.
  • Provide access to data and strategic plans as individual agencies, departments, and organizations are writing grants for gun crime and violence reduction and prevention grants. Encourage collaborations and sharing of resources in developing such grant proposals.
  • Ensure that your local or state law enforcement officials have the appropriate legal authority as well as the training and equipment to fully enforce laws against illegal gun trafficking, possession, and related crimes.


Updated February 5, 2015

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