Creating Safer Communities

In 2014, there was a shooting in Isla Vista, California that killed six people and injured 14 others. An investigation revealed that the parents and therapist of the shooter had warned law enforcement about the shooter’s dangerous behavior, but the police had no legal authority to intervene and remove the shooter’s firearms before he acted. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (The Fund) identified the gap in California law that allowed this risk and got to work. Just six months later California passed the nation’s first extreme risk law. 

Over the next six years, the Fund led a nationwide effort to support extreme risk laws.  Legislation has been passed in 16 states and the District of Columbia, with additional legislation introduced in 26 additional states. Concerned relatives can now get help for a family member they know to be suicidal, who is having thoughts of harming others, or for a family member whose erratic behavior, violence, and substance abuse suggest additional violence is imminent. 

One of the clear lessons of our work on extreme risk laws is that states with strong local leaders with expertise and capacity were key to successfully challenging the gun lobby and passing new policy. To stop the horrible level of daily gun death in America, there is nothing more important than building out a powerful gun violence prevention network in every state.

– Josh Horwitz, Executive Director

The gun violence prevention field is dominated by skilled national organizations.These groups end up raising large sums of grassroots funds that often do not make their way back to local communities and organizations who possess local relationships and knowledge to secure gun violence prevention legislation. With Mountain support, The Fund has launched a vehicle which provides state and local leaders with the resource, capacity and policy support they need to create change in their own communities while leveraging national expertise.