New report says California has led the way on gun safety

GIFFORDS Law Center, the legal arm of the gun violence prevention group GIFFORDS, released a new report — “California Has Built a Lifesaving Gun Safety Model for the Nation.”

The report focuses on the correlation between California’s decreasing gun violence rates over the past 30 years and its enactment of strong gun laws during the same time period.

Lindsay Nichols, Policy Director, said, “California has led the nation in passing lifesaving gun laws. Over the past three decades, it has passed the nation’s first assault weapons ban, implemented strong background check laws, and just this year signed into law a first-of-its-kind bill to fund community violence intervention programs. The implementation of these critical initiatives have led to a notable decrease in gun violence. From 1993 to 2019, California’s gun homicide rate fell by two-thirds, dropping more than twice as much as the rest of the country. We know that these laws work and have saved many lives, and we’re proud of our efforts in the state. GIFFORDS will continue to work to pass strong gun laws in California.”

Key highlights

  • The impact of California’s strong gun laws is measured in lives saved and fewer incidents of gun violence.
  • California implemented the nation’s first assault weapons ban, strong background check laws, and eligibility standards for firearm purchases.
  • California has enacted various protections for victims of domestic violence, waiting periods to prevent impulsive acts, and oversight for gun dealers, among other measures.
  • The state preserved local authority for cities and counties to develop tailored gun safety laws.
  • California established the nation’s first extreme risk protection order (also known as a “red flag” law) and the nation’s first state-funded gun violence research center.
  • The state has achieved remarkable reductions in gun violence, with record-breaking decreases in gun homicides, suicides, and unintentional shooting deaths.
  • California’s progress in reducing gun violence occurred primarily within the last decade.
  • Despite spikes in violence during the pandemic, California remains safer than most other states, especially in terms of child safety, domestic violence, and racial disparities in gun violence.
  • California’s gun safety policies have made a significant difference, potentially preventing thousands of deaths and injuries.

For 30 years, the legal experts at GIFFORDS Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have been fighting for a safer America by researching, drafting, and defending the laws, policies, and programs proven to save lives from gun violence.