In response to the public health epidemic of gun violence facing the nation, including Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to explore legislative options at the County and state level that would further restrict access to firearms, as well as direct the Department of Public Health to develop a strategic and comprehensive violence prevention plan.
On average at least three people die every day in Los Angeles County as a result of gunfire. Young people are disproportionately represented in that number.
“We’ve had enough moments of silence, of praying for slain co-workers, school children and neighbors,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion. “We need to be taking every possible action and refuse to be satisfied by anything short of a comprehensive approach to this public health crisis that addresses not only gun violence, but child and elder abuse, suicide, and domestic and intimate partner violence. We want to prepare a comprehensive plan to ensure that every man, woman, and child in this county is free from violence.”
California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and recently received an “A” from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s annual gun law scorecard. However, a report made to the Board of Supervisors in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting noted that other California counties and some LA County cities have stricter, constitutional, gun control regulations.
“It is imperative that we broaden the conversation beyond just tightening regulations for firearms and gun safety,” said the motion’s co-author, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We must take a comprehensive approach – including looking at the problem from a public health perspective – help our communities break the patterns that ultimately result in acts of violence. Our work must encompass stricter gun laws as well as a range of violence prevention strategies.”
Manal Aboelata, Managing Director of the Prevention Institute, a national research and policy organization, said, “Preventing community violence requires commitment, creativity and resources from multiple partners working together toward a shared vision. As a national organization that has worked for 20 years to prevent violence using a public health approach, Prevention Institute applauds LA County leaders for taking this step to establish a Countywide Office of Violence Prevention, and to support and potentially expand work that ‘goes upstream’ to address the factors that can help prevent violence from happening in the first place.”
Read full motion [here].