Written by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and provided to LA2050 as part of its mid-year report.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud to report on the Combating Crime Guns Initiative (CCGI): Los Angeles. Our 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 working to identify and reform gun dealers who are flooding cities with crime guns.
The Brady Center is partnering with the Goldhirsh Foundation 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, we are focusing on two metrics: per capita crime rate, and perceived safety. Both of these are long-term measures, but we are confident in CCGI's ability to impact them 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 more than 30 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. During 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 is now assisting the Mayor's Office and Police Department in drafting three pieces of 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. These bills are essential in providing local law enforcement with the ability to effectively engage with the dealers most responsible for the flow of crime guns into Los Angeles.
Steve also met with the Stockton Police Department to discuss crime gun tracing best practices and with the City of San Diego to plan Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) trainings for local law enforcement officials. These meetings helped to establish strategies that can be used in the future when engaging with the LA City Council and law enforcement.
The Brady Center has ties to many local community, faith-based, civic, and academic organizations in Los Angeles, including Women Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los, USC School of Social Work, the UCLA School of Public Health, All Saints Episcopal, Beth Shir Shalom, and First AME. This coalition of Los Angeles community partners has grown since we brought CCGI to Los Angeles. Key new partners include the Youth Council to End Gun Violence, Hope and Heal Fund, and the Urban Peace Institute of LA. These partners are essential to both amplifying our work and activating more individuals in the gun violence prevention movement.
Political and legislative restrictions have been a central hurdle. The corporate gun lobby and gun industry have ensured that there are many limitations to local law enforcement's ability to publicly release information on crime gun dealers. Our legal team has been and will continue to be instrumental in overcoming this challenge.
What's to Come
In the next six months, the Brady Center will work closely with the California Department of Justice and the ATF to obtain crime gun trace data for Los Angeles. We will also be expanding our local coalition through numerous meetings and collaborative community education events. These community education sessions will serve to inform Los Angeles residents about the landscape of crime guns and gun violence in their city and spur grassroots activism within the local gun violence prevention movement.
Additionally, we will continue our work with law enforcement agencies and lawmakers to roll out legislation that will help reduce gun violence. One potential law on the horizon will enforce that all firearms seized from criminals will be entered into the AFS system so that they can be traced back to their source. Once we gain access to Los Angeles gun trace data, our team and our local crime guns partners will share this information with the public and coordinate organized legal and financial pressure against the most notorious California dealers to motivate the reformation of their dangerous business practices.
This is just the beginning. Everyone has a part to play in preventing gun violence in our communities, and we urge Los Angelenos and local community organizations to reach out to Steve Lindley (at [email protected]) to become part of the solution. Let's play, Los Angeles!