MONTEREY PARK, March 14, 2023 – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued the following statement on President Biden’s executive order taking nationwide action to prevent gun violence. Today, Attorney General Bonta will join the President in in Monterey Park to underscore the need for strong measures to reduce gun violence across the United States,including universal background checks before firearms sales, increased use of red flag laws and safe storage of firearms, accelerated law enforcement efforts to identify and apprehend shooters, and greater accountability for the gun industry.
“As we have said too many times before, thoughts and prayers alone are not enough — we need strong and decisive action,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today President Biden joined us to demand stronger gun safety measures nationwide. California has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and one of the lowest rates of gun death but we are not immune to this uniquely American disease. When a gun is placed in the wrong hands, it is deadly. We know that commonsense, constitutional gun safety laws save lives and we have a moral and ethical obligation to enact them. I am grateful for President Biden’s leadership and support in helping to address the public health and safety crisis of gun violence.”
Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation. On average, there are over 110 gun deaths each day and nearly 41,000 each year in the U.S. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents; with U.S. children being more likely to die from gun violence than in any other comparable country.
In 2021, California saw a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people — compared to 13.7 deaths per 100,000 nationally, 28.6 in Mississippi, 20.7 in Oklahoma, and 14.2 in Texas. California’s gun death rate for children is also lower than other states, and is 58% lower than the national average.
Attorney General Bonta continues his work with federal and state partners to advance laws and policies that save lives and prevent gun deaths. In 2022, Attorney General Bonta launched the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) first-in-the-nation Office of Gun Violence Prevention, a unit dedicated to developing strategies and working with stakeholders statewide to address the gun violence epidemic. This innovative new office — the first Office of Gun Violence Prevention under the leadership of a state attorney general — will provide centralized support from the DOJ for partners to implement strategic and innovative programs to reduce gun violence.
In February, Attorney General Bonta, along with Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Anthony Portantino, and other legislative leaders, introduced Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), to strengthen California’s existing concealed carry weapon (CCW) laws in a manner consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. SB 2 builds on and improves California’s existing CCW license law by enhancing the existing comprehensive licensing regime that helps ensure those permitted to carry firearms in public are responsible and law-abiding individuals who do not pose a danger to themselves or others; protecting children and young adults from gun violence by setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age to obtain a CCW license; advancing safety through stronger training requirements about the proper handling, loading, unloading, and storage of firearms; and safeguarding the public by identifying certain sensitive public places where guns may not be carried.
Attorney General Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue tackling the issue of gun violence strategically and aggressively by:
- Promoting the strong laws in place in California to temporarily remove guns from dangerous individuals and potentially prevent an oncoming tragedy through civil orders such as Gun Violence Restraining Orders, Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, as well as other orders;
- Advocating for commonsense gun laws within California by sponsoring Assembly Bill 1594 to increase accountability for the firearm industry, working to strengthen federal laws to protect the public from ghost guns, and successfully defending California’s laws to prevent gun violence and laws nationwide that protect the rights of community members to live, travel, and congregate safely and without fear of gun violence;
- Seizing guns from prohibited persons in the Armed and Prohibited Persons System, and through multiagency sweeps in the Bay Area and Los Angeles County, conducting operations targeting individuals attempting to illegally purchase guns, and collaborating with local law enforcement partners; and
- Ending the sale of illegal firearms through litigation against ghost gun retailers, and by putting a stop to the sale of illegal assault weapons in Orange County.