Two big numbers stuck out in the first report from the California Attorney General’s new Office of Gun Violence Prevention, released Tuesday. 

  • 140,000: The projection of how many fewer gun-related deaths there would have been nationwide if the U.S. firearm mortality rate had matched California’s between 2013 and 2022. While California’s rate was once 50% higher than the national average, it’s now 33% lower and ranks seventh lowest. And if its rate had been as high as the rest of the nation during that decade, nearly 19,000 more Californians would have been killed by guns.
  • 50%: How much California’s youth gun homicide rate dropped between 2006 and 2022, despite increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the same period, the rate rose by 48% in Texas and by 23% in Florida.

Attorney General Rob Bonta argues that the numbers show California’s success in reducing gun violence. 

  • Bonta, in the report: “Gun violence is America’s disease — a sickness that is traumatizing our communities and tearing our families apart….While California is not immune to this disease, thanks to our nation-leading, commonsense gun laws and prevention policies, we’ve made substantial progress.”

But the report also highlights some problems, including the scourge of gun violence in disadvantaged communities, its role in hate crimes and illegal guns coming into the state.

Gun violence prevention groups praised the detailed, 38-page report, filled with charts. 

  • Kris Brown, president of Brady, in a statement. “Solving a problem as complex as gun violence requires nuanced solutions, and our approaches only stand to benefit from more data.”

By the way, there’s an interesting history to the gun violence office: Democratic Assemblymember Mia Bonta of Oakland, the attorney general’s partner, carried a bill to create it, but it failed. So last September, they jointly announced its formation, though there was only enough money for one employee, the director.

And if you want to know more about the office and its report, the attorney general is hosting a public webinar at 10 a.m. today. Register here.

Gun laws explainer: CalMatters just updated our popular gun explainer with the joint resolution introduced this week in service of Gov. Newsom’s push for a U.S. constitutional amendment on gun control.

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