On April 8-9, in response to recent shootings in his district, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, CSG West chair-elect, convened a conference to address gun violence and gang violence. The event was held at California State University, Dominguez Hills and included elected officials Assemblymember Mia Bonta, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, law enforcement, gang interventionists, and community leaders.
Attendees listened to presentations from the Los Angeles County Office of Violence Prevention, Brady United, and the Los Angeles Gang Reduction & Youth Development Program (GRYD). Los Angeles Police Department staff gave a demonstration of the uncomplicated steps to assemble a ghost gun.
Assemblymember Gipson reported that 93% of recovered guns last year were ghost guns. Ghost guns consist of two components – polymer and steel – which can be bought legally by unlicensed buyers. This type of firearm can be assembled in as little as 30 minutes for roughly $400.
Attendees participated in five breakout sessions: (1) Intervention, (2) Prevention, (3) Aftercare (resources/services), (4) Jobs/Trades and Education/Programing, and (5) Healing Support for Frontline Workers. Participants shared stories, successes, communication strategies, and areas where increased support is critical.
Assemblymember Gipson ended the conference with a commitment to redouble his efforts around the ghost gun epidemic. He has authored AB 1621, which tightens ghost gun restrictions and addresses unserialized firearm components. Presently, there are four other gun reform bills on the docket: AB 1594, AB 2571, and SB 1327. Since 2015, 51 related bills have been chaptered in the California Legislature.
Assemblymember Gipson also announced that he would work with Governor Gavin Newsom to create a California State Office of Violence Prevention. Currently, these offices exist solely at the county level.
In recent weeks, the White House and the Department of Justice have released formal announcements addressing the danger of ghost guns and the steps being taken to mitigate the escalating situation.
Video highlights from “It Takes A Village: Addressing Gun and Gang Violence” can be viewed here.