July 20, 2021 Blog

ICYMI: Seattle City Council Position 9 Candidate Forum on Gun Violence

Bold leadership is needed in Seattle to address the gun violence epidemic. After an unforgettable year with demands for racial justice and equality, voters understand that gun violence is interconnected with economic inequality and a lack of community resources and a comprehensive response, beyond just policing, is needed to address it. A poll conducted at the candidate forum showed that 62 percent of those in attendance believed that addressing the root causes of gun violence, such as poverty, should be the city council’s priority in combating the gun violence crisis. It is important that local leaders seek broader solutions that will not only reduce gun violence, but also build thriving, equitable communities.

City leaders are crucial to improving the crises facing Seattle. City council members in particular are responsible for the implementation of existing policies and funding for various programs. Three candidates for Seattle City Council Position 9 participated in the forum hosted by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Grandmothers Against Gun Violence. We appreciate their willingness to answer specific and important questions relating to their work and understanding of the gun violence epidemic. The following candidates participated:

In the flash questions round, all three candidates agreed that all forms of gun violence are preventable. The candidates were also knowledgeable on gun violence facts particular to our state. Three true or false questions were asked relating to suicide rates, cost of gun violence per Washington resident, and the leading cause of death for children. We appreciate that the candidates were aware of these facts and have background knowledge on issues specifically impacting our state. The only candidate that participated in Wear Orange was Brianna Thomas; we appreciate her dedication to gun violence prevention and raising awareness for the cause. All candidates committed to fighting against Washington’s pre-emption law, which prevents localities from passing some of their own gun safety measures. 

While displaying their differences, each candidate was able to provide their stances and approaches to tackling gun violence in our state. As our CEO Renée Hopkins said, “More than 800 people are killed by gun violence each year and voters are eager to see more than just statements from local leaders.” 

The candidates’ answers, coupled with additional vetting, prompted the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Victory Fund to endorse Nikkita Oliver and Brianna Thomas! This marks only the second time the Victory Fund has issued a dual endorsement and is evidence of both candidates’ qualifications and significant experience working on gun violence prevention. A full list of endorsed candidates can be found here.

As gun violence continues to rise in our city, strong leaders that prioritize the epidemic are urgently needed. The ballots are now out for the primary elections, and we encourage all Seattle residents to exercise their right to vote. Gun violence in our city is not inevitable, and through strong leadership and collective action we can continue to pave the way and be a model for our state and beyond.

The forum was recorded and can be viewed on Facebook here and on YouTube here. If you would like to use footage from the event, please reach out to [email protected] to access the recording. 

Brad Blackburn is an intern with the Alliance.