Examining the supply of guns and developing solutions to reduce gun access to combat gun violence in Milwaukee neighborhoods.
Gun violence is an issue of both racial justice and health equity. The continued influx of guns into racially segregated communities and the resulting violence in communities of color can be traced back to lack of government agency oversight over primarily white gun dealers. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (Brady Center) has taken a supply-side approach to gun violence to address this issue, seeking to understand how guns end up in communities and who is responsible for them. In partnership with Safe & Sound, a community organization dedicated to building safe and empowered neighborhoods, the Brady Center examined how residents and police officers in the Amani and Harambee neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, perceived the local gun supply and accessibility of guns, and it identified related issues for advocacy.
The Brady Center piloted this community research project in the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee and extended this effort to neighboring Amani. The Brady Center and Safe & Sound surveyed residents to document their perceptions of gun accessibility. They compared community perception data with local data on stolen guns obtained from the Milwaukee Police Department. Both the crime and the survey data pointed to guns being stolen out of cars as one major source of the illegal gun supply.
The Brady Center and Safe & Sound collaborated with the neighborhood group Amani United to share the research findings and support the community’s interest in a public awareness campaign about how to store guns safely in cars. From the data and local knowledge, they identified locations where guns were likely to be stolen from cars—liquor stores, gas stations, bars, schools, and places of worship—and are sharing customized educational materials with the property owners and managers at those locations. The groups will continue to engage their neighbors at summer events like Juneteenth and other community events and are seeking sponsors for a possible billboard campaign.