Emergency Brady CA Action! “YES” on AB/SB 173

Brady United Against Gun Violence CA has sent out an urgent notice! These crucial bills — AB/SB 173 Public Safety— would ensure this critical research and data are once again shared so that the research center can study the impacts of gun violence and help save lives. But time is running out: We only have until tomorrow to urge lawmakers to support this vital bill. Please, send your lawmakers an email right now in support of AB/SB 173!

The NRA just sent out their own alert, asking their people to call against this bill, using unfounded excuses. Don’t let their voices be the only ones your legislators hear!

Minimal script : I’m calling from [zip code]and I want Assemblymember/Senator [___] to vote “YES” on [Assm: SB 173/ Sen: AB 173] Public Safety. There was no verifiable reason that the DOJ stopped sharing the vital research and data needed by our highly respected Firearm Violence Research Center, work vital to preventing gun violence, for the use of advocates, law enforcement, public health experts, lawmakers, and more. If we want to create successful, evidence-based policy outcomes, prevent gun violence, and save lives, we need this vital research. Please vote “YES” today.

Contact:

  • State Senator Monique Limón (SD-19): email, SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 
  • or State Senator Henry Stern (SD-27): email, SAC (916) 651-2027, Calabasas (818) 876-3352
  • State Assemblymember Steve Bennett: (CA-37): email, SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700
  • or State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: (CA-44): email, SAC (916) 319-2044, CAM (805) 482-1904, OX (805) 483-4488
  • Not your people? Which assemblymember/state senator is mine?: findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.

More information.

The NRA has been trying to snuff out gun violence research since they successfully lobbied for the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which barred the CDC from funding any effort that advocates or promotes gun control. (Dickey now has “deep regrets” over his legislation.) The result has been an anaemic level of funding for research on one of the top 20 causes of mortality in the United States. One 2017 estimate says that gun-violence research is funded at about $63 per life lost, making it the second-most-neglected major cause of death, after falls. Studying gun violence data means that researchers can give clearer answers on how specific gun policies affect homicide, accidental shootings and suicide rates, and the economic and human costs of gun injuries to communities. They can tackle questions like whether or not gun ownership makes homeowners safer, for example, or the best methods to prevent access to kids. (Everytown Research and Policy maintains a #NotAnAccident Index – In 2021 there were at least 266 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 107 deaths and 173 injuries nationally.)

Meanwhile, the highly respected California Firearm Violence Research Center, located at UC Davis, has been researching gun violence for the last 30 years, and in 2017, became the state’s office research center, as well as the first such state-funded institution in America.

(theguardian) California, which has much stricter gun laws than most American states, also has more detailed government data available, including records of individual handgun purchasers going back decades and statewide records about the restraining orders filed to temporarily bar at-risk people from owning or buying guns.

This more detailed personal information has allowed California researchers to conduct rigorous analyses of the state’s gun laws and policies, looking at early evidence of whether the state’s new gun violence restraining orders have helped to prevent mass shootings, studying whether buying a handgun puts a person at higher risk of dying from gun suicide, and examining whether expanding the category of people with violent records who are barred from buying guns might reduce gun violence.

Already, results from this research have informed firearm safety laws and policies in California and across the nation, including kinds of studies not possible in states with sparser data. They’ve been an important resource for law enforcement and public health and health care professionals, and made major contributions to advancing the understanding of firearm violence.

But then, inexplicably, the CA Department of Justice (DOJ) under Xavier Becerra stopped the required data-sharing, citing possible privacy issues for information that’s been securely stored and shared without incident for decades, and more importantly, data that is specifically mandated by law to be shared with the research center. Although Becerra had a strong track record on gun violence issues, his reasons remained vague and confusing, and the Sacramento Bee was accused him of “hiding gun violence data” and accused him of “obstructing”, rather than upholding, state law. Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research stated “I consider it a pretty serious challenge to gun violence research.” His actions were also opposed by Brady United Against Gun Violence, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

If we want to better understand America’s raging gun violence epidemic and save lives, we need research and data — and that’s exactly what AB/SB 173 would achieve. By sharing this data, it would help inform an evidence-based, public health approach to reduce gun death and injury. And make no mistake, there’s no reason to not share this data and research: it is safely and securely stored. In fact, researchers at the research center have made use of it for 30 years without incident.  Please, contact your lawmakers today and tell them to vote YES on AB/SB 173. Together, we can improve the health and safety of Californians and all Americans. 

(Image: Children and teen gun death rate per 100,000. Data source: The Horrific Risk Of Gun Violence For Black Kids In America, In 4 Charts. By The Huffington Post. 19 August 2014.)

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