July 14, 2021 Press Releases

Seattle City Council Position 9 Candidates Spar On Gun Violence and Police Accountability at Public Safety Forum

As Seattle grapples with a continued surge in gun violence, candidates for citywide Position 9 shared differing views on addressing public safety

SEATTLE, WA – Today three candidates for Seattle City Council Position 9 shared differing views addressing gun violence in a virtual forum hosted by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Grandmothers Against Gun Violence. Sara Nelson, Nikkita Oliver, and Brianna Thomas participated. The event was moderated by South Seattle Emerald founder and Seattle Times columnist Marcus Harrison Green and was attended by more than 100 prospective Seattle voters. 

“Every day brings another reminder of the urgency of the gun violence crisis in Seattle,” said Renée Hopkins, Alliance for Gun Responsibility CEO. “Today’s forum showed how seriously each of the three participating candidates is taking this public health crisis and highlighted the distinct approaches each would take to address public safety if elected. Seattle has shown that city councils have an important role to play in preventing gun violence, from overseeing law enforcement to implementing state gun laws to funding community-based violence prevention programs. But it is clear there is so much work left to do. Seattleites deserve courageous leaders at the helm who understand the complexity of the gun violence epidemic and will prioritize taking a public health approach to keeping all people safe.” 

Public safety has been top-of-mind for Seattle voters since last summer’s racial justice protests ignited city-wide reevaluation of our current systems. In 2020, pandemic-induced economic hardship and social disruption exposed and exacerbated the risks of almost every type of gun violence. And Seattle, like most cities across the U.S., saw gun violence surge. In 2020, the city saw the highest number of homicides in a quarter century. Newly-released data shows Seattle is not alone: Washington state saw a record-high 302 homicides last year. 

Like the mayoral candidates who participated in a similar forum last month, all three candidates agreed on many general measures. In a “Flash Round,” each candidate committed to fighting Washington state’s preemption law, which prevents localities from passing many of their own gun safety laws. They also agreed to support using COVID-relief dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund comprehensive gun violence reduction plans. The candidates differed most in their view of the Seattle Police Department’s role in addressing gun violence and the role of city council members in working with SPD. 

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. 

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility Victory Fund will release endorsement decisions on this race and the mayoral race soon. Other primary endorsements can be seen here