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California is the first state to create an office of gun violence prevention


California will be the first state to establish an office dedicated to reducing gun violence by keeping guns away from “dangerous individuals” and promoting research and data collection, the California attorney general said Wednesday. State, Rob Bonta (D).

Bonta, who has called the number of gun violence deaths in the United States an epidemic, said the Office of Gun Violence Prevention “will look at a wide range of factors” and seek an evidence-based approach. and data driven. Bonta’s wife, Assemblyman Mia Bonta (D), sponsored a bill in February that called for the creation of the office.

“When will that be enough? Rob Bonta said at a news conference in San Francisco alongside gun control advocates, some of whom had loved ones killed in shootings.

“We are in a total crisis, a total state of emergency, and to fight this epidemic it is going to require new efforts, creative approaches and new actions,” he said. “That’s why we are here today.”

Many Democratic-led state and local governments have pushed for increased gun regulation — California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has used Republican anti-abortion tactics to tighten gun laws — in amid higher national homicide rates since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and relatively modest gun control efforts in the Federal level. The number of homicides in California increased by 7% in 2021 compared to the previous year. Firearms were implicated in about three-quarters of the murders in which authorities identified a weapon.

Some state and local restrictions could be checked by a U.S. Supreme Court that has taken a broad view of gun rights, experts said. In June, the High Court ruled that law-abiding Americans had the right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense, forcing New York State to rewrite a century-old firearms law. fire.

What the new California body “can accomplish will depend in part on how much damage the Supreme Court will do if it overturns sensible measures,” said John J. Donohue III, a law professor at Stanford University.

“Creative new ways to limit the massive increase in gun theft…to counter the damage to police effectiveness that results from promiscuous gun carrying, and to get guns out of the hands of those who are likely to harm themselves and others are hard hit. necessary,” he said. “A dedicated office may well be able to initiate such measures.”

The California Gun Rights Foundation, an organization that has opposed numerous gun control laws, and Bonta’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.

In April 2021, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) created an Anti-Gun Violence Office, and DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) also set up an Emergency Operations Center for the prevention of armed violence to coordinate the application. But violent crime continues to be a major challenge for both cities. Reps for Cantrell and Bowser could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The staggering scale of gun deaths in the United States goes far beyond mass shootings

The new California office will support ongoing operations to seize firearms from dangerous individuals on the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System database. The list includes people who have been convicted of a violent crime or misdemeanor, who are subject to a restraining order or who suffer from a serious mental illness.

The state averaged 8.5 gun-related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the seventh lowest figure among the 50 states. Hawaii had the lowest number of gun-related deaths per capita, while Mississippi had the highest.

California has the most restrictive gun regulations nationwide, according to at Giffords Law Center, a gun control advocacy group that pushed for the creation of the new California office. The nonprofit’s lawyers analyzed gun laws in all 50 states and assigned points to each state’s laws and policies.