Report finds firearm homicide rate in California is 33 percent lower than national average

The newly formed California Department of Justice’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention released a first-of-its-kind Gun Violence Prevention Data Report Tuesday, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced.

According to the OGVP, the report helps highlight the policies that are working and where more work is needed.

There are more than 116 gun deaths per day across the United States, but on Tuesday, AG Bonta said his office is working to bring that number down.

“We chose to change the trajectory of where we’ve been and to end the gun violence epidemic,” said Bonta, alongside local leaders outside Homeboy Industries.

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Formed in September of last year, the OGVP’s new data-driven report shows that California’s homicide rate is 33 percent below the rest of the country.

“If the national gun death rate matched California’s gun death rate over the last 10 years, nearly 140,000 Americans who have died from gun violence would still be with us today,” Bonta said.

The report claims that gun violence among people 25 and younger has dropped significantly in California versus other large states. In 2022, California’s youth homicide rate was 3.3 per 100,000 residents, a number that is nearly half the rate of Texas and Florida.

“It is a direct result of nation-leading common-sense data-driven gun laws and prevention policies that are intentional,” Bonta said.

Although the attorney general touts the state’s efforts as a success, he did highlight some of the challenges California faces.

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For instance, OGVP data from 2021 found that 50.4 percent of firearms recovered by law enforcement in California were traced back to out-of-state dealers.

Where ghost guns are concerned, there has been an increase in un-serialized firearms used in crimes nationwide. However, California has been able to reduce the number of ghost guns recovered.

The report also highlights the need to protect communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence.

GIFFORDS, founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to prevent gun violence, is proud to have worked alongside California lawmakers for years to improve their gun laws.

Paul Carrillo, Vice President of GIFFORDS Center for Violence Intervention, said, “GIFFORDS applauds the release of the first-ever ‘Office of Gun Violence Prevention Data Report.’ This comprehensive report underscores the gravity of the issue we face — a public health crisis that continues to claim lives and shatter families. Gun violence demands a collective effort to find lasting solutions. California’s achievements in reducing gun violence stand as a testament to the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies. Over the past three decades, our state has made remarkable progress, with firearm homicide rates now standing significantly below the national average. The lives saved through these efforts cannot be quantified merely in numbers; they are the daughters and sons who now have a chance at a brighter future. Yet, our journey is far from over. The report sheds light on disparities that persist, and it underscores the impact of external factors such as the pandemic and the trafficking of illegal firearms. We must address these challenges head-on, collaborating with partners across all levels of government and within our communities to break the cycle of violence. We look forward to continuing to work with Attorney General Bonta to fight gun violence in California.”

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