City of Gainesville seeks solutions to local gun violence

Published on May 23, 2023

Gun Violence Prevention Summit-01.png

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (May 16, 2023) – The City of Gainesville is responding to rising gun violence with a two-day summit that will bring together stakeholders, community members and nationally-recognized experts. With nine people killed by guns in Gainesville in 2022, and five shooting deaths already reported in 2023, the search for solutions is infused with a sense of urgency.

The City of Gainesville’s Gun Violence Summit, scheduled Sunday and Monday, Aug. 6-7 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, will include sessions dedicated to policy analysis, violence prevention and group discussion. Anchored by Mayor Harvey Ward, and Mayor Pro Tem and District 1 Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker, the event will be structured around a two-day framework to examine questions and inspire answers.

“This is a national problem with very real local consequences, and Gainesville leaders are committed to tackling this challenge locally with responsibility, compassion and transparency,” said Mayor Ward. “Crimes connected to gun violence, including burglaries and possession of illegal firearms, are a present and growing problem in every district.”

Commissioner Duncan-Walker has worked to stem gun violence throughout her term in office, beginning with a virtual town hall in late 2021 that drew more than 1,000 participants. In the 18 months since, the commissioner has introduced a February 2, 2023 motion to declare gun violence as a public health crisis and has joined Mayor Ward in calling for an event with the potential to position Gainesville as a leader on the frontlines of this national dilemma.

“I have only become more determined to shine a light on how we can use opportunity, education and the arts to reverse this trend in our community,” said Commissioner Duncan-Walker. “As a product of Gainesville, the growing occurrence of gun violence, especially the rise in incidents involving youth, is particularly disturbing to me. Addressing gun violence is a community-wide responsibility. I am confident this convening will be the beginning of a movement within our great city,” she said.

Commissioner Duncan-Walker will anchor the summit’s first day, hosting a community listening session and panel discussion, with both open to the public. The second day will shift toward policymaking with a work session for thought leaders and an opportunity to hear from professionals in the field.

Registration information and additional details about the summit will be available in the coming weeks.

For more information, please contact City of Gainesville Public Information Officer Rossana Passaniti at 352-393-7842