From the Office of the Governor
Gov. Jay Inslee today signed an executive order that launches a statewide public health initiative to reduce and prevent gun-related fatalities and injuries.
The order uses the same data-driven public health approach that has significantly reduced motor vehicle deaths over the past two decades.
The initiative will help the state understand the people and places most at risk of gun violence or suicide, determine the best approaches to reducing gun violence and work with its partners to develop strategies and actions to prevent gun violence.
“This will be a data-driven approach that helps us identify the people and places most susceptible to gun crime and suicide,” Inslee said. “Gun crime is a scourge that has scarred thousands of families in every corner of our state. It’s a scourge we can, should and will help prevent.”
Between 2012 and 2014, 665 people died in Washington state from firearm injuries, compared to 497 deaths from automobile accidents. Approximately 80 percent of the firearm deaths were suicides.
Inslee’s order requires the Department of Health and the Department of Social and Health Services, in collaboration with the University of Washington and other state and local agencies to collect, review and disseminate data on deaths and injury hospitalizations related to firearms, as well as recommend strategies to reduce firearm-related fatalities and serious injuries.
Inslee said he also wants to further strengthen the background check law approved by Washingtonians in 2014. He is directing the state Office of Financial Management to analyze the effectiveness of information sharing between state agencies, the courts, local jurisdictions, law enforcement and other entities to determine if there are ways to improve the effectiveness of the system.
He is also requesting the Attorney General’s office to analyze current enforcement practices to make sure those attempting to purchase a firearm illegally are held accountable.
He is also asking them to update a 2007 white paper regarding access to firearms for those with mental illness. The white paper included recommendations that have yet to be implemented such as a centralized background check system.
Inslee is directing agencies to submit recommendations by October of 2016. Continue reading