Attorney General Bonta Launches Office of Gun Violence Prevention

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Office to provide proactive approach through strategic programs and partnerships with stakeholders statewide 

Releases new webpage to provide the public with information and resources to improve public safely

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the launch of 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. California has long been a national leader in effectively preventing gun violence — with one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the country. Despite efforts at the state level, in 2020, firearms were the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Gun violence is a true public health crisis that requires immediate and proactive attention. Today, Attorney General Bonta outlined the new office, announced a nationwide search for its first director, and launched a new webpage to provide the public with information about the office and resources for learning about California’s work and strategies to further reduce gun violence.

“This moment of crisis demands more than thoughts and prayers — we need action now,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “That is why as California Attorney General, I am doubling down on California’s gun safety efforts: I am defending our commonsense gun safety laws in court and cracking down on the surge of untraceable ghost guns. I am proud to lead a team of special agents that remove firearms from the hands of dangerous individuals. And today, I am establishing the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to advance a strong, statewide, public health-focused effort as we continue working together to put an end to this crisis once and for all.”

“Gun violence is a national crisis, a state crisis, a local crisis, and a public health crisis," said Assemblymember Mia Bonta. "This year, gun violence has hit close to home with mass shootings blocks away from the State Capitol, shootings in close proximity to my district office, and shootings that have personally impacted members of my staff. Each gun violence tragedy sits heavy in my heart. I mourn with the families of the victims and wonder, what it will take to finally end this gun violence epidemic. The establishment of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention is a testament to the Attorney General also recognizing the need to elevate this matter statewide to identify comprehensive and effective solutions. I look forward to working with this office on this matter and I will continue to push for gun violence to be recognized as a public health crisis to develop a health-based approach to ensure that our communities have the resources available to uplift them from the root causes of gun violence.”

"In 2020, 3,449 Californians died from gun violence. While we have some of the strongest gun laws in the country, this number is unacceptable, and there remains much work that needs to be done to save lives," said Laura Cutilletta, Giffords Law Center, Managing Director. "California requires more coordinated expert leadership and a statewide resource dedicated to breaking down silos across different agencies and borders, cutting through red tape, and helping communities implement new resources to stop gun violence. Throughout his time in office, Attorney General Bonta has been a steadfast partner of Giffords Law Center and a champion for gun safety. We applaud Attorney General Bonta for establishing the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and we look forward to working closely with the office to explore the public health solutions to our gun violence epidemic that we know work to save lives." 

“With the ongoing homicides here in San Francisco, Oakland, and throughout the state, we applaud Attorney General Bonta for responding to this situation with the urgency it deserves,” said Mattie Scott, Founder, Healing 4 Our Families & Our Nation; President, Brady United Against Gun Violence California, and San Francisco Mothers in Charge Chapter Leader. “Attorney General Bonta, you heard our cries, saw our pain, and took action to provide critical services needed to combat this epidemic. Thank you for opening the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to help us provide a space for victims and survivors of senseless gun violence. I wish we had this resource 25 years ago before my youngest son George C. Scott was shot and killed with a semi-automatic assault weapon at the age of 24. But I know this new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will save lives. As I always say, this is about all of us or none of us; we must come together to stop the killing and start the healing.”

“Gun violence is a public health crisis in California, and there's more we can do to save lives,” said Clare Senchyna, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “The launch of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention is an important step forward for our state, and we are proud to stand alongside Attorney General Bonta as he works to make California a safer place to live.”

“It takes the hood to save the hood,” said Rudy Corpuz Jr., Founder and Executive Director of United Playaz.

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s (OGVP) mission is to reduce and prevent gun violence, firearm injury, and related trauma. OGVP will support DOJ’s ongoing gun violence reduction efforts led by the Bureau of Firearms and DOJ's litigation sections — including the Department’s seizure of firearms from dangerous individuals using the Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS), prosecution of firearms trafficking cases, and defense of California’s commonsense gun laws. OGVP will examine a broad range of factors — from firearm availability to effective resources for crisis prevention — to reduce the harm caused by firearms and make Californians healthier and safer. OGVP aims to reduce gun violence by promoting research and data collection, increasing awareness about effective legal and policy strategies, and collaborating with federal, state, and local partners.

Attorney General Bonta also announced a nationwide search is underway to recruit a Director for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Information about the position may be found here.

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.

California continues its efforts to advance laws and policies that save lives and prevent gun deaths. 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 stands with partners throughout the state to continue tackling the issue of gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

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