More than 110,000 Americans are injured or killed by guns every year, in community violence, domestic violence, mass shootings, suicide, and accidents.

A growing body of research concludes that easy access to firearms contributes to gun violence in all its forms, and the Joyce Foundation remains committed to supporting research, education, and policy solutions to limit availability of firearms to those at risk of violence.   

In urban areas, the impact of gun violence is experienced most acutely by young people of color and their families and communities. At the same time, lack of trust between police and community members, coupled with overreliance on incarceration, further weaken communities and compromise public safety. With the goal of reducing gun violence while improving the fairness of the justice system, the Joyce Foundation expands its Gun Violence Prevention Program in 2018-2020 to encompass three strategic priorities:

  • Reducing gun violence through state policy reform, research, education, and legal strategies

  • Supporting 21st Century policing to build greater police-community trust and legitimacy

  • Reducing incarceration of young people.

This program expansion is based on our assessment that in urban areas, gun violence and the justice system’s response are two sides of the same coin. Weak gun laws allow illegal guns to proliferate, causing shootings and homicides that devastate communities. But when the dominant response to gun violence is overly aggressive policing, prosecution, and sentencing, too often the tactics deployed result in additional harm to the communities already plagued by gun violence.  For communities to be safe and just, we must renew our efforts to prevent gun violence before it occurs, with a holistic approach that includes stronger gun policies, fair policing, and a justice system that minimizes incarceration of young people. The Joyce Foundation makes grants in the Great Lakes region to strengthen evidence-based public policies to promote safe and just communities in the following three areas.