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Tacoma Seeks To Curb Gun Violence Through 'Gun Safe T Awareness Week'

A screengrab from an anti-gun violence video produced by the City of Tacoma

Cities across the Puget Sound area are paying more attention to gun violence. In Seattle, a federal grant worth half-a-million dollars is designed to help law enforcement trace guns used in crimes, and pay for more prosecution. And in Tacoma, the city is holding “Gun Safe T Awareness Week.”

The music video produced by the City of Tacoma says it simply: “Guns down, right now.” And it’s a message Tacoma officials are hoping will resonate with a younger audience, in a city where homicide victims and perpetrators both tend to be younger than 24 years old.

The video features local rapper TDH. For him, the effort is personal.

“I suffer from these issues every single day,” he says. “People getting locked up. I’ve lost so many close friends to gun violence and just violence in general.”

This week, Tacoma is holding conversations, including one at a juvenile detention center. Next week, a public conversation takes place at Mount Tahoma High School.

Melissa Cordeiro coordinates the Tacoma Gang Reduction Project. She says the city wants to reach out not only to people who have used weapons, but also those who are exposed to violence.

“When there’s an incident in Tacoma, you usually have a shooter and you have 10 kids standing around the shooter who are potentially tomorrow’s shooter,” said Cordeiro.

The video, starring TDH, is just one step. Separately, the city is also considering drop boxes where people can surrender their guns anonymously.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.