As the new year begins, gun violence in California continues. On Sunday evening, two teenagers, Angel Castillo, 17, and Omar Montiel, 18, were shot and killed in Santa Barbara. Two others, whose names have not been released, were also shot and wounded.
“It might be a new year, but gun violence continues to devastate communities,” said Kendall Pata, a volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action in Santa Barbara. “My heart is with the families of Angel, Omar, and the two survivors of the shooting. We need to prioritize funding for violence intervention groups that work tirelessly to prevent gun violence in our city.”
As California lawmakers prepare to return to session next week, they should work to pass common sense gun safety laws — starting with funding for CalVIP. CalVIP supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in California’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping Californian communities safe. Many community-based prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. have now adapted their strategies to inform community members about the risks of COVID-19.
Every year, there are nearly 14,000 gun homicides in the U.S. In 2015, half of the gun homicides in the U.S. took place in just 127 cities, which contain less than a quarter of the population. California records more than 3,000 gun deaths every year.
More information about violence intervention and prevention funding available here. Statistics about gun violence in California are available here, and information on how California’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with California Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.