California launches first of its kind Office of Gun Violence Prevention

Peninsula Premier Admin

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday the launch of the state’s new Office of Gun Violence Prevention, a new branch within the California Department of Justice that will be the first of its kind in not just the state but the nation. “We are in a full-on crisis, a full-on state of emergency,” Bonta said in a press conference in San Francisco. “In order to fight this epidemic, it’s going to take new efforts, creative approaches and new action.”The announcement comes amid another year of tragic shootings across the country and state. On average, there are over 110 gun deaths each day and nearly 41,000 each year in the United States, according to the California Department of Justice. Bonta said the new office will examine factors that could help reduce gun violence, including reviewing firearm availability and the resources available for crisis prevention. The office will also promote research and data collection, plus ramp up awareness of policies aimed at preventing gun violence, such as the state’s gun violence restraining order program, for example. The idea to create the office was initially introduced by the attorney general’s wife and Assemblymember, Mia Bonta. Her bill, AB 2253, passed its first hearing in the Assembly Public Safety Committee 5-2 on a party-line vote before being held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee this spring. “How many deaths will it take for us to take action?” she said. Bonta unveiled the latest action in front of the main office of United Playaz, a community-based violence intervention group in San Francisco. Plastered on the building is a large mural painted in remembrance of local community members lost to gun violence. “I needed to leave the city,” said Clare Senchyna, whose son, Camilo is featured on the mural. “It’s not that I didn’t love it anymore but it was too painful to walk by the schools he went to, the playgrounds he played in every weekend.” “It’s definitely well intended and I understand the focus, gun violence is truly a problem within our culture,” said Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) in response to the announcement. Lackey was one of the “no” votes for Assemblymember Bonta’s bill that would have created the office with legislative approval. Lackey notes the Attorney General sidestepped the legislative process, which he said provides the proper channels to vet policies and take public input. “I think what we should be focusing on is making sure guns do not get in the hands of those who are not capable of being responsible with those guns,” said Lackey. “Mental health is something that’s very difficult that’s not been handled well, and that’s where our resources should be focused on.” A legislative analysis conducted this spring estimated the creation of the office could cost the state an additional hundreds of thousands to low millions of dollars. Bonta said Wednesday a national search is underway for the office’s first leader.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday the launch of the state’s new Office of Gun Violence Prevention, a new branch within the California Department of Justice that will be the first of its kind in not just the state but the nation.

“We are in a full-on crisis, a full-on state of emergency,” Bonta said in a press conference in San Francisco. “In order to fight this epidemic, it’s going to take new efforts, creative approaches and new action.”

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The announcement comes amid another year of tragic shootings across the country and state. On average, there are over 110 gun deaths each day and nearly 41,000 each year in the United States, according to the California Department of Justice.

Bonta said the new office will examine factors that could help reduce gun violence, including reviewing firearm availability and the resources available for crisis prevention. The office will also promote research and data collection, plus ramp up awareness of policies aimed at preventing gun violence, such as the state’s gun violence restraining order program, for example.

The idea to create the office was initially introduced by the attorney general’s wife and Assemblymember, Mia Bonta. Her bill, AB 2253, passed its first hearing in the Assembly Public Safety Committee 5-2 on a party-line vote before being held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee this spring.

“How many deaths will it take for us to take action?” she said.

Bonta unveiled the latest action in front of the main office of United Playaz, a community-based violence intervention group in San Francisco. Plastered on the building is a large mural painted in remembrance of local community members lost to gun violence.

“I needed to leave the city,” said Clare Senchyna, whose son, Camilo is featured on the mural. “It’s not that I didn’t love it anymore but it was too painful to walk by the schools he went to, the playgrounds he played in every weekend.”

“It’s definitely well intended and I understand the focus, gun violence is truly a problem within our culture,” said Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) in response to the announcement.

Lackey was one of the “no” votes for Assemblymember Bonta’s bill that would have created the office with legislative approval. Lackey notes the Attorney General sidestepped the legislative process, which he said provides the proper channels to vet policies and take public input.

“I think what we should be focusing on is making sure guns do not get in the hands of those who are not capable of being responsible with those guns,” said Lackey. “Mental health is something that’s very difficult that’s not been handled well, and that’s where our resources should be focused on.”

A legislative analysis conducted this spring estimated the creation of the office could cost the state an additional hundreds of thousands to low millions of dollars.

Bonta said Wednesday a national search is underway for the office’s first leader.

Contributed by local news sources

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