As gun violence continues to devastate California communities, lawmakers at all levels of government need to prioritize gun violence prevention. Though California has strong gun safety laws, there is more work that must be done to protect Californians from gun violence. This week, officials at the local and state level took up that challenge, passing several major gun safety actions.
Locally, the San Jose City Council passed a new ordinance on Tuesday that requires additional regulations for gun dealers to conduct more efficient processes, including targeting illegal gun trafficking and addressing suicide by firearms. Last week, Mayors Against Illegal Guns member Mayor Sam Liccardo also announced a swath of new gun safety proposals. The actions came just weeks after a mass shooting in downtown San Jose near a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) maintenance yard.
Additionally, the state legislature passed the proposed state budget from Governor Gavin Newsom. This year, Governor Newsom included $200 million for California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP) funding in the 2021-2022 May revise budget proposal, in the form of a baseline funding of $9 million plus an additional $200 million infusion over the course of the next three years. Last year, Governor Newsom allocated $9 million for CalVIP funding.
Legislation to watch at the state level:
- AB490, legislation to expand the current chokehold ban, passed the Assembly floor and now moves to the Senate.
- AB 988, legislation to create an alternative dispatch crisis hotline for mental health calls that do not require a direct line to law enforcement, passed the Assembly floor and now moves to the Senate.
- AB 1057, legislation to include ghost guns in the process of extreme risk laws. The bill passed the assembly floor and now moves to the Senate.
- SB 2, legislation to increase accountability for law enforcement officers through creation of a decertification process when misconduct has occurred, passed the Senate floor and now moves to the Assembly.
- SB 299, legislation to ensure that victims of excessive use of force by law enforcement are able to utilize victim compensation, passed the Senate floor and now moves to the Assembly.
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.