Free Gun Locks By Mail

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris helped launch a Free Gun Lock By Mail program, a first-of-its-kind program by a local government, to prevent unintended gun tragedies. The total cost of each lock with postage is $7 a piece, making this program incredibly cost-effective, especially considering the cost to the community of even one lost life or gunshot wound can be astronomical.

More than 800 Shelby County residents, representing all zip codes in Shelby County, have requested a gun lock online and received it through the mail since the program was rolled out this year.

Impact:

The program has already been wildly successful. The city is measuring success not just by the number of locks that have been requested and distributed, but also by the comments from those asking for the locks who have expressed their gratitude and their reasons for wanting to securely store their weapons. Many mention the safety of their children and grandchildren, and being responsible gun owners to keep the community at large safe.

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones Released Plan of American Rescue Plan Funding to Improve Street Safety

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones released a new map outlining the timeline and breakdown of recently appropriated American Rescue Plan Act funding to improve street conditions and safety throughout the city. The roadmap utilized data to identify 10 hot-spot intersections and corridors in need of repavement and safety enhancements. Construction and improvements will be made over the next several years.

The City will spend $3.5 million to address intersections of interest. Much of this funding will repave and repaint around 32 miles of city streets.

Senator Loranne Ausley: ‘Foster Children’s Bill of Rights’ in Florida

This week, a Florida Senate subcommittee unanimously passed NewDEALer Senator Loranne Ausley’s bipartisan legislation to codify a bill of rights for children in the state’s foster care system. The legislation compiles the rights of children in the foster care system, ensuring priority is given to their physical, mental, and emotional health. “The purpose of this bill is to place all of the rights that are already in law into one place,” Senator Ausley said. Rebecca Baer, who spent two years in Florida’s foster care system, spoke in support of the bill and “said it felt like she lost about 90% of her rights the day she entered the system,” adding, “at the end of the day, I believe this bill will help youth not go through the same situations that I did.” Read more about the legislation here.

Delegate Brooke Lierman: New Infrastructure Plans Rolling Out

Following the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, NewDEALers are poised to lead in directing investments to long-overdue projects that will impact the economic vitality of their communities. Many NewDEAL Leaders are already taking action on these priorities. Delegate Brooke Lierman’s Maryland Transit Safety & Investment Act overcame a gubernatorial veto and is set to eliminate the state’s $2 billion public transportation maintenance backlog by spending nearly half a billion dollars each year for repairs and enhancements. In Nevada, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft celebrated the groundbreaking of a long-awaited bridge project which first received federal funding in the 1990s. “This bridge is an important transportation element and it is also critical for emergency responders,” Naft said. Elsewhere, the Boston Council approved newly-elected Mayor Michelle Wu’s $8 million plan for three of the city’s bus lines to go fare-free, an important step towards making the city’s transportation equitable and accessible. The program will utilize federal funding, and early numbers suggest that ridership will be significantly boosted by the measure.

Attorney General Aaron Ford: Combatting Opioid Overdoses in Nevada

In response to a rise in fatal and nonfatal overdoses associated with fentanyl, this week, alongside the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and Governor Steve Sisolak, NewDEAL Leader Attorney General Aaron Ford announced the launch of a new opioid task force. The recent increase in overdoses in Nevada has been severe, with emergency department visits from suspected stimulant-related overdoses having risen by 66% between July and August alone. The new group, named the Joint Advisory Task Force, is designed to provide technical assistance, guidance and resources to local and state jurisdictions, and will work to reduce the risk of overdose and better prepare local and state officials if overdose numbers continue to rise. For more, check out this article on the task force.

Bexar County District Court Judge Monique Diaz: Survivors of Domestic Violence

NewDEAL Leader and Bexar County District Court Judge Monique Diaz’s Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence commemorated three years of service this week. The commission released a comprehensive report overviewing the efficacy of the program in providing support to domestic violence survivors, raising awareness around the warning signs of abuse, and expanding the power of judges to issue compliance orders to perpetrators, all aimed at reducing cases of family violence in the county. In the past year alone, the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence, co-chaired by Diaz and Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez, has been able to connect 1,600 survivors with crisis support services and train over 300 medical professionals to recognize the signs of abuse. As the program enters its fourth year, Diaz highlighted the importance of taking a holistic approach to harm reduction, emphasizing a need to include the voices of offenders and of families impacted by abuse. For more on the Commission, click here.

NewDEAL Leader Champions Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence

NewDEAL Leader and Bexar County District Court Judge Monique Diaz’s Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence commemorated three years of service this week. The commission released a comprehensive report overviewing the efficacy of the program in providing support to domestic violence survivors, raising awareness around the warning signs of abuse, and expanding the power of judges to issue compliance orders to perpetrators, all aimed at reducing cases of family violence in the county. In the past year alone, the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence, co-chaired by Diaz and Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez, has been able to connect 1,600 survivors with crisis support services and train over 300 medical professionals to recognize the signs of abuse. As the program enters its fourth year, Diaz highlighted the importance of taking a holistic approach to harm reduction, emphasizing a need to include the voices of offenders and of families impacted by abuse. For more on the Commission, click here.

ARP: Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Signs Bill to Improve Public Safety, Creating Office of Violence Prevention and Dedicating Nearly $14 Million ARP funds to Community, Youth Programming

Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed Board Bill 65, a public safety bill aimed at improving public safety by establishing the Office of Violence Prevention and allocating nearly $13.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding to community violence prevention and youth programs. This initiative was highlighted in Mayor Jones’ April State of the City address.

 

The Office of Violence Prevention will function under the Department of Public Safety, coordinating resources across city departments and community violence intervention programs to enhance the safety of St. Louis neighborhoods. The office will also seek funding opportunities to extend programs beyond the ARPA funds’ expiration in 2026. Wilford Pinkney Jr., the Mayor’s Office Director of Children, Youth, and Families, will lead the Office of Violence Prevention. The Office of Violence Prevention is fully authorized and will be staffed up in the coming weeks and months.

 

Mayor Jones invested $5.5 million of ARP funds to invest in community organizations working to interrupt cycles of violence through prevention and intervention. In addition to providing employment services, housing, and mental health resources to individuals with justice system involvement, the city also invested in youth violence prevention programs. In July, the city announced funding to expand the work of Project Haki, an organization supporting youth through summer programs and creating safe community spaces.

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Equity Initiative: House Minority Leader Driskell Backs Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell carried a bipartisan police reform bill through the committee’s process, earning unanimous support. After months of negotiations with the Legislative Black Caucus, HB 7051 was approved in order to increase transparency and establish more accountability measures into police departments. Driskell pushed the bill in response to citizens’ demands to end the trend of the killing of unarmed Black people. The national attention that sparked protests around the nation revealed the need for greater public safety, which required legislation to ensure that all officers were mentally astute and properly trained in de-escalation techniques. The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to create stricter policies, such as banning chokeholds or requiring officers to report use of force that results in injury or death. House Democratic leaders say they will continue to have conversations with citizens about how the police force can best serve community members.

ARP: Columbus OH, Invests in Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein used $150,000 of American Rescue Plan dollars to stabilize his office’s budget and save the Legal Advocates position in the Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit. Klein’s concerns were realized as forced isolation and increased anxiety about food, housing, and employment during the pandemic led to a rise in domestic violence incidents. Advocates play a critical role, working directly with domestic violence victims through times of extreme trauma and anxiety–trauma and anxiety often stemming from violence amplified by the lingering stressors of COVID19.