Source: Office of Gov. Roy Cooper
With the goal of reducing firearm misuse and violence, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the creation of a new statewide Office of Violence Prevention last week, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
The new office will be located in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and will involve coordination between state agencies and local leaders in an effort to reduce violence.
“All of us deserve to feel safe in our homes, our schools and our communities,” Cooper said. “This new office will help coordinate the efforts to reduce violent crime, tackle both intentional and careless gun injuries and deaths, and work to keep people safe.”
The Office of Violence Prevention will work closely with state agencies, such as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “to ensure a whole of government and public health approach to reducing violence,” the release said.
The creation of this new unit of NCDPS comes at a time when Republicans in the General Assembly are working to weaken gun laws by attempting to make buying handguns easier by getting rid of pistol permits and also allowing guns to be conceal carried in more places – such as churches and religious schools.
The Republican-controlled legislature’s attempts to weaken gun laws got underway at the same time as a shocking new report from the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, the state commission that studies child deaths, was released.
The task force’s findings showed that, in 2021, children in North Carolina were 51% more likely to die from gun violence than children in the U.S. as a whole.
A Centers for Disease Control survey also recently found that 30% of kids in North Carolina said they could get and be ready to use a loaded gun within an hour – without a parent’s permission.
These types of issues are what the Office of Violence Prevention will focus on.
According to the press release, “The creation of the Office of Violence Prevention is part of Governor Cooper’s ongoing commitment to reducing violence and promoting public safety in North Carolina. The Governor has launched a public education campaign to encourage firearm safe storage, vetoed bills that would weaken our background check system and harm public safety and called for common sense legislation like extreme risk protective orders to prevent future tragedies.”
The release said that Cooper’s upcoming budget proposal “will include investments in school and community safety, including the Office of Violence Prevention.”
Attorney General Josh Stein said in the press release that the type of work the Office of Violence Prevention will focus on “can help break the devastating cycles of violence.”
“Violence doesn’t just damage those who are directly impacted – it can be traumatic to the entire community,” he said. “We can help break these devastating cycles of violence by investing in our communities, taking some common sense gun violence prevention measures, and strengthening partnerships between law enforcement and the people they serve.”