Gun safety and violence prevention - County of Santa Clara
The damage brought by gun violence is too common an occurrence in America. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in 2021, this is a public health crisis that our country has grown to know all too well.
Gun violence is a complex issue that sadly does not have an easy solution. While we work to address the roots of hate, anger, and sadness that drives so much of this violence, we also want to take actions to get guns out of the community. The following data and information clearly displays the necessity of taking action nationally and locally.
⇒ Watch Supervisor Lee's statements about gun violence at the January 24, 2023 Board of Supervisors meeting after the incidents in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
⇒ Read Supervisor Lee's statement regarding gun violence in America from May 2022 after the mass shooting in Buffalo.
Gun violence in America:
Nearly every American will know at least one victim of gun violence in their lifetime
117,345 people are shot every year - Among those 40,620 people die from gun violence
321 people are shot in the United States every day - Among those 111 people are killed
On an average day 100 Americans are killed with guns
Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than people in other high-income countries
60% of firearm related deaths in the US are suicides
The US accounts for just 4% of the world’s population but 35% of global firearm suicides
Gun violence in California:
Gun ownership increased by 55.3% from 2015-2020 in California
More than 3,100 gun deaths per year - 7.8 Gun Deaths Per 100K
On average someone is killed with a gun every three hours in California
The direct costs of gun related hospitalizations in California was estimated at $87.4 million dollars in 2010 - 65% of which was shouldered by taxpayers
Gun violence in County of Santa Clara
People in County of Santa Clara owned approximately 550,000 guns in 2021
People in San José owned approximately 257,000 guns in 2020 - figuring 50,000 to 55,500 household own guns
122 Gun violence restraining orders, GVRO, were issues in 2019 - nearly four times increase from the prior year
More than 750 assaults and robberies were committed with a firearm in San Jose in 2019, and the SJPD reported an annual of 869 from 2017 to 2019
Annually, more than 200 people are killed or injured by gunfire in San José, and there were 394 firearm deaths from 2016 to 2020
Law enforcement agencies in County of Santa Clara took nearly 300 ghost guns off our streets in 2021 - more than double from the prior year
Non-fatal firearms injury-related emergency visits more than doubled from 2011 to 2020, and 90% of non-fatal firearm injury related emergency visits are male
Unintentional/accidental non-fatal firearm injuries account for 77% of firearm related emergency visits
The cost of gun violence:
From 2016 to 2020, the average annual costs related to gun violence is nearly $1.2 billion in County of Santa Clara
From 2006 to 2020, the societal costs of gun violence increased to $1.47 billion, an annual average increase of $35 million, and 54% increase in just fifteen years
Annually, San José spends at least $7.9 million responding to shootings
Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens
Every day, 22 children and teens, ages 1-17, are shot in the United States - Among those five die from gun violence
3 million children are directly exposed to gun violence each year, resulting in death, injury, and lasting trauma
1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many left unlocked or loaded
Guns used for hate and domestic violence:
25 million US adults have been threatened or non-fatally injured by an intimate partner with a firearm
Nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner
The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increase the risk of the woman being killed by FIVE TIMES
Women in the United States are 21 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries.
Every year, an average of 10,300 hate crimes involve firearms - 28 hate crimes involve a firearm each day
Nearly a fifth of hate crimes are based on sexual identity and gender identity bias. LGBTQ+ are more likely to be targeted for a hate crime more than any other group
We are taking action to end this senseless and heinous gun violence in our communities. We’re also taking action to stop preventable self-harm and violence. Gun buyback events are one of these actions.
Gun Buyback Events
The County of Santa Clara, District Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies sponsor gun buyback events to collect unwanted firearms from our community. Gun buyback events go back to the 1960’s in Philadelphia, but it was not until the 1990’s that these events became a more common effort to help reduce gun violence.
The Count of Santa Clara held two buyback events in 2022 - Milpitas in May 2022, and South County/Morgan Hill in December 2022. The County of Santa Clara is partnering with the City of San Jose to host a Gun Buyback at the Reid-Hillview Airport on December 2, 2023. Previously they had been held in 2019 in Gilroy after the Garlic Festival Shooting, and one for North County in late 2018. The Milpitas event saw more than 400 firearms voluntarily turned in, including assault weapons and ghost guns, and the South County event brought in an additional 289 firearms. Continually supporting these events help us keep our community safe even though data on the success of gun buyback events is limited. These events have collected thousands of unwanted guns and kept weapons off the streets - including here in County of Santa Clara. We’re working to save lives. Promoting safety and preventing violence is not an infringement upon our rights, we are creating safe and responsible spaces to empower our rights. More information about the May 2022 event and More information about the December 2022 event.
After buyback events, firearms acquired by the County of Santa Clara's District Attorney’s Office will be checked to make sure they were not stolen, and the firearms will be stored until they are sent out for destruction. Firearms that are voluntarily surrendered will not be sold.
The County of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department has a Gun Relinquishment Program where individuals may turn in any unwanted firearms. Please contact the Sheriff’s Office for more information 408-299-2311 or visit CountySheriff.sccgov.org.
If you know someone who may be a danger to themselves - call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Please visit the County Behavioral Health Services Gun Safety webpage for more information about gun safety.
Special thanks to CEMA, County Employees Management Association for being a dedicated sponsor and advocate for gun safety and violence prevention. Learn more about CEMA.