In this Op-Ed, authors Michael McBride and Ciera Bates-Chamberlain emphasize the need for local leaders to invest in violence prevention and address the root causes of violence, rather than solely focusing on banning “ghost guns.” They acknowledge President Joe Biden’s efforts to address ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms, but argue that it is not enough to combat the issue in Black and Brown communities. McBride and Bates-Chamberlain urge elected officials to allocate American Rescue Plan dollars towards scaling community violence intervention strategies. They advocate for a shift away from a “tough-on-crime” approach and highlight the importance of prioritizing justice, safety, healing, and security in a balanced manner. They also mention the advocacy work of Fund Peace in promoting the use of American Rescue Plan funds for community-based violence interventions.
McBride and Bates-Chamberlain express their support for President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s actions to ban companies from selling DIY kits for ghost guns without serial numbers. However, they stress that addressing ghost guns alone is insufficient to tackle the underlying causes of violence in communities, particularly those predominantly composed of Black and Brown individuals.
They highlight the urgency of utilizing American Rescue Plan funds to scale up community-based violence intervention strategies. By investing in these initiatives, local leaders can prioritize prevention and support programs that address the root causes of violence. They argue against adopting a “tough-on-crime” narrative, emphasizing the need for a more comprehensive and holistic approach that goes beyond enforcement and criminalization.
The authors reference the advocacy work of Fund Peace, an organization that promotes the eligibility of American Rescue Plan dollars for community violence intervention efforts. They call on elected officials to prioritize these strategies and avoid neglecting the needs of Black and Brown communities, especially in the upcoming summer months when violence tends to escalate.
McBride and Bates-Chamberlain highlight the importance of redirecting resources and funding towards community empowerment, healing, and justice. They emphasize that true safety and security can be achieved by addressing the systemic issues that perpetuate violence, rather than relying solely on punitive measures. By investing in violence prevention and community support programs, leaders have the opportunity to make a tangible and positive impact on the lives of individuals affected by violence.
In conclusion, the authors argue that while addressing ghost guns is a necessary step, it should be accompanied by a broader commitment to addressing the root causes of violence and investing in community-based solutions. By utilizing American Rescue Plan funds effectively and prioritizing violence prevention, local leaders can create safer and more equitable communities for all.