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California AG announces first-in-nation division to prevent gun violence statewide

ABC 7 News

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Wednesday announced the launch of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, a new first-of-its-kind division of the California Department of Justice.

Bonta held a press conference in San Francisco with gun safety advocates to detail the unit that will develop strategies to address gun violence at the state and local level.

"This moment of crisis demands more than thoughts and prayers - we need action now," Bonta said. "That is why as California Attorney General, I am doubling down on California's gun safety efforts: I am defending our commonsense gun safety laws in court and cracking down on the surge of untraceable ghost guns."

OGVP will provide centralized support for local partners to implement innovative strategies. It will also support statewide initiatives from the Bureau of Firearms and DOJ's litigation sections. In addition, it will promote research and data collection as well as increase awareness about legal strategies, according to a release from the DOJ.

The office is currently conducting a nationwide search to find its first director. Bonta also announced the launch of a new website that houses information on laws, resources, litigation, and more.

Assemblymember Mia Bonta spoke about how gun violence has personally affected her, and how it's a public health crisis that needs health-based solutions.

"This year, gun violence has hit close to home with mass shootings blocks away from the State Capitol, shootings in close proximity to my district office, and shootings that have personally impacted members of my staff," Assemblymember Bonta said. "Each gun violence tragedy sits heavy in my heart."

Local organization leader Mattie Scott shared about his son being shot and killed 25 years ago. He thanked AG Bonta for the creation of the office, as San Francisco and Oakland deal with ongoing gun violence, saying that it will save lives.

"Attorney General Bonta, you heard our cries, saw our pain, and took action to provide critical services needed to combat this epidemic," Scott said. "Thank you for opening the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to help us provide a space for victims and survivors of senseless gun violence."