Dear fellow King County employee,
On February 14 – Valentine’s Day – 14 children and three adults in Parkland, Florida, lost their lives in a manner that has become all too familiar in America: a senseless school shooting.
This horrifying event is another tragic reminder that we must act to end the epidemic of gun violence that has engulfed our nation, to stand up for those who have had their lives brutally taken, and to fight to keep our children and public places safe.
Last month I testified in Olympia for two bills: promoting safe storage of firearms, and allowing local governments to pass common sense safeguards, such as requiring reporting of stolen firearms and restricting children’s access to firearms. At the time, I noted that gun violence is a public health crisis, and it is preventable. We can attack it the same way we have reduced deaths from smoking and auto collisions.
That’s why I directed Public Health – Seattle & King County to develop innovative, data-driven local strategies for preventing gun violence in King County. This has led to programs like Lok-it-up, which can help prevent firearm theft and keep guns from getting into the hands of kids and being used in crimes and for self-harm.
State and federal law pre-empt our ability to regulate firearms, but that should not stop us from thinking innovatively about what we can do within our own authority to fight this scourge.
When we witness tragedies like the massacre in Florida, we need to support one another. If you would like to speak with someone, King County provides two free services to employees that offer professional support and advice: the Employee Assistance Program and Making Life Easier. Both resources are free and confidential.
As we mourn so many young lives cut short, we must take a stand, continue to work collectively, and redouble our efforts to end gun violence here in King County and across our nation.
King County Executive