GNV commission declares gun violence crisis

Citizens set up a gun violence protest table outside City Hall during Thursday's commission meeting. (Photo by Seth Johnson)
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Gainesville City Commission declared gun violence a public health crisis in the city at its meeting on Thursday.  

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker added an item that addressed gun violence to the agenda, citing the commission’s recent declaration of a traffic violence crisis as what prompted her move. The discussion ended up taking place only hours after a double homicide occurred blocks away from Gainesville City Hall

Duncan-Walker said addressing the problem takes more than police efforts and read from a Brookings Institution report on that point.  

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

“There’s probably not a person in this room that does not understand the fact that our approach to gun violence is going to require all hands on deck,” Duncan-Walker said.  

Prior to her item, Gainesville Police Chief Lonnie Scott presented a report on the final three months of 2023 and compared the annual numbers to 2022.  

Scott said Gainesville saw a decrease in violent crime from 2022 to 2023 but noted overall crime increased 0.56%—largely due to property crimes. The number of firearms stolen rose 17%, from 185 to 218, with more than half taken from vehicles.  

The number of confirmed shots fired calls rose from 125 to 170 (36%), but the number of persons shot or injured by gunfire fell from 51 in 2021, with six self-inflicted, to 47 in 2022, with eight self-inflicted.  

Scott noted that the department cleared all 10 of the homicides in 2023, whether through arrests or justified action.  

Duncan-Walker said the city should collect the data and gather the stakeholders.  

“I want the city to lead this,” Duncan Walker said. “Are we the experts? No. But do we have the opportunity to take a leadership role in this? Absolutely.”  

Her motion included the crisis declaration, sending a letter to Alachua County to pass a similar declaration, laying the foundation for a gun violence task force and directing staff to look at expansion possibilities for current gun violence prevention programs.  

The motion passed unanimously.  

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mr. Peabody

Moments later Duncan-Walker made a motion to ban pencils to help curb incorrect spelling.


That’ll do it! Just declare it a crisis! Just like traffic crisis! Soon they’ll want yo take both away!


I believe they’re starting already on the traffic crisis. Just making the roads too narrow for the traditional traffic. Starting on University, right? They’ll use eminent domain to suit their own purposes, but if people realize it that can work both ways.


We do need ALL HANDS ON DECK to prevent illegal gun violence. One of the quickest and most effective ways to prevent any illegal violence is to make those perpetrators have to worry about their victims and other citizens being able to provide their own effective self defense.

Illegal violence committed by people using a gun in the commission of a crime SHOULD carry additional penalties. BUT, any new legislation that infringes on the law abiding citizens exercising their rights should be denounced.

While Gainesville Police are fast at arriving at the scene, they’re emergency ‘responders’ not FIRST responders. TRUE first responders are the victims and witnesses. They are the ones that can stop a terrible situation from getting worse, or as most often the case – prevent a terrible situation from even happening. The criminal that has to think about whether their intended victim is able to defend themselves AND whether bystanders will simply stand by or get involved, is less likely to commit another crime.

Is it really a gun violence crisis, or is this posturing against the upcoming legislation that will return 1 part of a constitutionally protected right?

Hollye Merton

Words have a way of determining the manner in which a statement is perceived and the term ‘gun violence’ is meant to lay focus of any discussion on the gun. We have a people violence problem. Unfortunately, the people that are duped by this method of manipulation do not understand the gravity of stripping citizens of their right to self-defense.

As one commenter pointed out, the true first responders are those that are well trained and carrying and there are a lot of us out there. 2,642,718 in Florida to be precise. It is not the ‘Wild West’ as many Democrats like to tout in an effort to stoke fear in the uninformed. The truth is that the criminals are not being prosecuted as they should be.

Part of this problem is the cost of incarceration and the lack of adequate facilities, and even the breakdown of societal constructs that form vibrant communities that support and encourage kindness and consideration for others.

However, the largest issue is the seemingly inability of liberal prosecutors and judges to protect the public from maniacal monsters hellbent on doing whatever they so choose. This is where the first move must be made.

Therefore, leaders must stop blaming the gun and focus on the actual problem. And, while the average citizen that is ill-informed should not bear the brunt of their lack of knowledge. They should, however, work to learn both sides of the issue rather than allowing themselves the luxury of ignorance.

Truthfully, we do not have a gun violence crisis. We have a criminal violence crisis that is fanned by the liberal agenda. Let’s work together to solve the problem without creating a divisive scenario by coining terms that do not convey the real problem. We’re all on the same side. We just have different viewpoints. Viewpoints that are all valuable when working together.

rick stransky

What has happened to this “people” crisis since 2015? I am hoping YOU have this answer.