Welcome to 2021! This time around, I think we would all agree that “Happy New Year” is more than a simple platitude. We say goodbye to a year unlike any other; a year that brought us a pandemic, lockdowns, school closures, record unemployment, and more than our fair share of misery. This new year brings hope – hope of turning the corner on COVID-19, safely reuniting with friends and family, and a return to normalcy.

2020 was also a record year for gun sales, and we saw increases in domestic violence, homicides, and suicides. Certainly, much of that can be attributed to the physical, emotional, and economic stress thrust upon us by the pandemic. But the truth is that even a return to “normal” means a return to far too much firearm-related violence.

Recent events were a sobering reminder of the work ahead of us. The riot of January 6th was terrifying. Hundreds, if not thousands, of angry Americans brandishing assault rifles and other firearms descended on our nation’s capital. It was a scary reminder of just how easy it is to obtain these destructive weapons, and of the many people among us who see violence as a viable option to address their grievances. It was a scene most of us will never forget and hope to never see again.

So, make no mistake – there is much work to be done, in Washington State and at the national level. But those of us who embrace the gun violence prevention movement have reason for optimism – we welcome a new administration and a new President who takes gun violence prevention seriously. Whether it be legislative breakthroughs, advances in technology, or comprehensive awareness and education programs, successful gun violence prevention efforts are now more likely than at any time in recent years. But it will take all of us working together!

As always, Washington CeaseFire appreciates your feedback, participation, and financial assistance. We are looking forward to partnering with you and doing positive things in 2021. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Larry Wechsler
President, Washington CeaseFire