By Barbara Bry
Safety and security are the foundation of any neighborhood, and common sense gun reform will ensure the protection of the lives of all San Diegans. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but we still have not done enough to tackle this issue to keep our children and families safe. We can no longer accept that guns are the cause of over 30,000 deaths a year or over 80 deaths per day in our country. It is also alarming that domestic violence has been tied to 1 in 5 homicides in San Diego.
Enough is enough.
I stand firmly with local organizations such as the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action in support of smart gun reforms that will ensure weapons stay out of the wrong hands and our schools and communities stay safe. President Obama’s executive actions were a step in the right direction, and now it is imperative that local community leaders and elected officials collaborate. With the stakes so high, this needs to be a focused, urgent, and action-oriented conversation. As a high tech entrepreneur, I will leverage my expertise of incorporating technology and data tracking while supporting advocacy and legislative efforts to implement common sense gun reforms.
As a Councilmember, I pledge to:
- Urge Mayor Faulconer to sign the pledge to support the fight against illegal gun as supported by Everytown: http://everytown.org/mayors/
- Support local companies that are creating smart gun technology. With our robust defense and technology economies, San Diego is an ideal location for companies pioneering gun safety technology such as owner-thumbprint activation software. As a City Councilmember, I will use my office as a bully pulpit to support these companies and work with City Council members to encourage their growth and success.
- Advocate for mental health services at our schools and in our communities.
- Continue to support local gun violence prevention groups such as the Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Action, and the Sandy Hook Promise. I will attend these meetings to listen to their concerns and advocate for our shared values and mission.
- Support and participate in programs that educate our students about the dangers of guns such as:
- “Asking Saves Kids,” which brings the Brady Campaign program about how to discuss guns in the home when your child visits: askingsaveskids.org
- “BE SMART,” which was created to bring together all responsible adults to reduce the number of unintentional shootings that occur when children get ahold of unsecured firearms: http://besmartforkids.org/
- “Sandy Hook Promise,” a national non-profit organization whose intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation by providing programs and practices that protect children and prevent the senseless, tragic loss of life: http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/
It's too easy for dangerous people to get powerful, military-style weapons that were designed to kill as many people as possible in seconds, putting our kids and even our police officers at risk. We need common-sense reforms that protect people from gun violence, including universal background checks and preventing the resale of guns to criminals.
Local, state, and federal representatives need to work together to ensure we are leveraging every legislative tool to protect our communities. While legislation is still being developed, I have outlined areas and initiatives I would support having a conversation about how we could implement. For instance, I support Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s initiative that will restrict ammunition sales, ban possession of large capacity magazines and require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons.
I will support local, state, and federal legislation that requires all sellers to:
- Videotape at the point of sale of a weapon.
- Complete background checks that evaluate severe mental illness as a factor. We need to close the loophole that allows it to be easier to buy a gun than to get on a plane.
- An initial background check is not enough. I support local, state, and federal legislation that will audit gun purchases. This audit will be helpful in two ways:
- It will help us look for any buyers with domestic abuse or violent charges that have occurred after the purchase of a gun. If a person commits a crime after the purchase of a gun, he or she should not still be allowed to keep a gun.
- The audit will also provide a way to look for irregular buying patterns, which could be straw purchasers, gun buyers who initially buy guns legally and then later sell on the black market.
As a mother and a grandmother, every time I hear about a tragic, senseless death due to gun violence, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach imagining the pain of the family grappling with the loss of a loved one. All residents – our children, parents, and seniors – deserve the peace of mind to feel safe.
All of the proposals outlined above are common sense solutions that can save lives. It is unacceptable that one will be videotaped buying gum at a convenience store but not buying a gun. It is unacceptable that there is no current tracking mechanism to take away guns from abusive spouses. It is unacceptable that there is no system to reward gun dealers who are following the rules and punish gun dealers who repeatedly sell guns to criminals. It is time we advocate and legislate to end this problem once and for all – one death due to gun violence is one death too many.
 Devine, Rory and Garske, Monica. “Domestic Violence Tied to 1 in 5 Homicides: Study.” NBC San Diego. October 2, 2014. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/SANDAG-Domestic-Violence-Homicide-Stats-Study-San-Diego-277927811.html