Five life-saving gun safety bills will be heard in the California legislature this week marking a big week for gun violence prevention in the state. These hearings come as gun violence continues to surge across California. On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the 2021-2022 May Revise budget proposal includes $200 million for California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP) funding. The investment would be the largest state investment to support violence intervention programs ever.
Here’s what to watch this week in the legislature:
- AB 988, legislation to create an alternative dispatch crisis hotline for mental health calls that do not require a direct line to law enforcement, will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
- AB 1223, legislation to create sustainable CalVIP funding and require a portion of California taxes to fund the life-saving program, will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Although Governor Newsom invested in CalVIP through the budget, this legislation would allow for permanent funding for the programs.
- SB 2, legislation to increase accountability for law enforcement officers through the creation of a decertification process when misconduct has occurred, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
- SB 299, legislation to ensure that victims of excessive use of force by law enforcement are able to utilize victim compensation, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
What to know about gun violence in California:
- In California, on average, over 3,000 people are shot and killed and over 6,800 others are wounded by guns every year.
- An average of nearly 1,600 people in California die by gun suicide every year. Gun suicide accounts for over 50 percent of all gun deaths in the state.
- Gun violence costs California $22.6 billion each year, of which $1.2 billion is paid by taxpayers.
- Homicide levels in major cities in California, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego, have risen over the past year, as the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of gun violence and brought unprecedented challenges to the work of local gun violence intervention programs. In the state, Black children and teens are six times more likely than their white peers to die by guns.
Statistics about gun violence in California are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how California’s gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here. If you are interested in speaking with a California Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.