Mayor Jackie Biskupski has announced today the formation of a Commission Against Gun Violence, tasked with exploring policy questions regarding gun violence in Utah, and to share funding recommendations with city, county, and state elected officials, as well as the Salt Lake City School District.
The Mayor’s Commission stems from an exchange with young activists at the July 14th Road to Change gun violence town hall in Sandy, sponsored by March for Our Lives. While there, Mayor Biskupski asked a panel of student activists what they would like to see her do as mayor to address gun violence. One panelist requested the mayor create a gun violence commission to explore funding and policy options.
“I told those students ‘done and done’ when they made their recommendations to me,” said Mayor Biskupski. “We have seen our young people stand-up against the gun violence which is putting their lives at risk every day, and it is critical leaders begin to listen and act on their message.”
The Mayor’s Commission will consist of 15 members comprised of individuals from the Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City Police Department, March for Our Lives, the faith community, the mental health community, as well as others impacted by gun violence. The Mayor’s Office is also seeking applications from Salt Lake City residents interested in the topic to fill four vacant positions.
“We want to bring together a wide range of opinions and perspectives to help craft serious recommendations that our community can get behind,” said Mayor Biskupski.
The commission will be staffed by two members of the Mayor’s Office: Simone Butler and Jennifer Seelig. A former state representative currently serving as a senior advisor to the mayor, Seeling was present at the 2007 Trolley Square mass shooting which claimed the lives of five individuals and wounded four others.
“What I experienced that day will never leave me,” said Seelig. “The impact of gun violence is physical, psychological, and spiritual, even for those not hit by bullets.”
The Commission is expected to meet initially in October with a goal of developing potential funding recommendations for the legislative session in January 2019.
Community members interested in applying for the four available seats on the Commission can apply at https://goo.gl/forms/abUUAyXIq1DQO9UI3
Photo by Kelsie Moore, KUER | (Left to right) Meg Flynn, Isaac Reese, Aurora Allen, and Elizabeth Love — organizers of March for Our Lives.