Communities taking action to stop “bad apple" gun dealers
This is an update on the winning proposal from the PLAY category in the 2018 activation challenge. See the original proposal here.
Brady is proud to continue to report on our Combating Crime Guns Initiative: Los Angeles. The Combating Crime Guns Initiative (CCGI) is a multi-pronged strategy to stem the flow of crime guns into cities that are heavily impacted by gun violence. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 90% of crime guns (firearms that are illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime) are sold by just 5% of gun dealers. Through CCGI, we are using a supply side approach to gun violence, identifying and reforming these gun dealers that are flooding cities with crime guns.
The Brady Center is partnering with the Goldhirsh Foundation's LA2050 initiative to bring CCGI to Los Angeles and help ensure that in 2050, Los Angelenos of all ages will enjoy safe homes, safe neighborhoods, and safe places to play. Under LA2050's 'Play' goal, our project applies to two metrics: per capita crime rate and perceived safety. Looking at our progress over the past year, we are more confident than ever in CCGI's ability to impact these measures over time.
Progress so Far
After the hiring of our Program Manager, Steve Lindley, our work in Los Angeles accelerated significantly. Steve is an experienced community liaison with over 28 years of experience in law enforcement. In the short period of time he's been with us, he's managed to accomplish a tremendous amount of work. As noted in our previous report, in just his first month as Program Manager, he met with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles area Brady Chapters to introduce himself and discuss strategies to reduce gun violence in the Los Angeles area.
As a result of these meetings, Steve was invited to assist the Mayor's Office in drafting legislation aimed at providing enhanced oversight of California firearms dealers, mandatory reporting and tracing of law enforcement seized crime guns, and enhancing the gun purchasing public's knowledge of California firearm and firearm safe storage laws. Steve was also a primary advisor to the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council in their 2019 Louder than Guns campaign.
Steve and Los Angeles area Brady chapter leadership have been instrumental in gaining support and votes for two important Los Angeles city measures. On June 5, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted for the expansion of the city's safe gun storage ordinance to include long-guns. On June 18, 2019, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to educate parents about proper gun storage and their legal obligation to safely secure firearms. We hope to continue our working relationship with Los Angeles Unified on these issues and incorporate Brady's multimedia safe storage campaign, End Family Fire, into school curricula across the district. Steve is also working with local stakeholders to develop and execute a highschool-based gun safety education program that will activate young adults around gun violence prevention and educate them on simple actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of gun violence.
In late June, Steve testified before the California Senate's Public Safety Committee in support of Assembly Bill 165 (Gabriel), which will increase funding for law enforcement to bolster its use of Gun Violence Restraining Orders, which allow for the temporary removal of a firearm from an individual who is a danger to themselves or others. The bill passed the Senate's Public Safety Committee and we are eager to see it signed by Governor Newsom. Steve is also working on a public education campaign that targets firearms dealers responsible for a disproportionate number of crime guns recovered in Los Angeles.
Political and legislative restrictions to gun dealer liability continue to be a hurdle. However, with a legal and policy team dedicated to these issues, we are well positioned to handle these challenges. Emerging and upcoming challenges include building out our relationships and coalitions to assist in preventing further gun violence, continuing to identify the sources of crime guns, activating youth movement around gun violence prevention, and adapting our various national gun violence campaigns for implementation on the local scale.
What's to Come
In the coming months, we look forward to how our 2019 and 2020 legislative concepts will be implemented at the State level. We are also eager to see how our the Louder Than Guns and the Los Angeles Unified School District's safe firearm campaign impact the City of Los Angeles. We will be working hard to push forward our crime gun dealer public awareness campaign and our youth education program. Finally, we will continue to strengthen our working relationship with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office and other national and local gun violence prevention and youth-focused groups to maximize our impact and reach.