We all agree that we want to feel safe in our community and that the criminals who commit violent crimes should be held accountable for breaking the law. The reality is that California already has some of the toughest and strictest firearm purchasing and ownership laws in the United States.
These state laws are not working because they do not address the underlying issue of rising violence in our state and in San Jose, due to a deadly combination of the decriminalization of violent crimes statewide, the defund the police sentimentality, elected officials passing laws which jeopardize our safety, and the failure of government in the areas of housing, homelessness, transportation, mental illness, and more.
The policies below are common sense approaches to reducing gun violence in San Jose.
INCLUSIVE AND DIVERSE COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Real solutions to stopping violence in San Jose, especially gun violence, begin with listening to all members of our City in open and transparent public dialogue and engagement. The City failed to hold a single public community meeting prior to the release of their gun control proposals, so starting with community outreach is the first step.
STOPPING ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO PROPOSE AND/OR VOTE FOR LAWS WHICH INCREASE VIOLENCE AND PLACE OUR SAFETY IN DANGER
The state of California has a major problem with Elected Officials trying to outdo each other with their careless sponsoring and passing of laws which put us in danger. Laws like Propositions 47, 57, and AB109 have released hundreds of thousands of violent criminals from prison and make it impossible for our police to enforce the law. In fact, the total number of violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault have significantly risen in San Jose by 135% since Proposition 47 was passed in November 2014.
Proposition 47 reclassified numerous felonies as misdemeanors and released up to 358,555 convicted felons back onto the streets.
We have all seen the increases in package thefts, mail thefts, and car break-ins.
Local businesses are closing because of theft, violence, and drug use.
Our parks, trails, and open spaces are not safe for families
Our environment is being polluted with trash and bio-hazards.
Proposition 57 released 20,000 sex offenders from prison, which even placed recently retired SJPD Chief Garcia “In shock.”
At the same time that San Jose is attacking law abiding firearm owners, the state of California is making it easier for criminals to commit more gun violence. AB1509, authored by Assembly Members Alex Lee, Ash Kalra and more, reduces the penalty for using a firearm in the commission of specified crimes from 10, 20, or 25-years-to-life to one, two or three year prison terms, and authorizes retroactive resentencing for a felon serving time for those crimes.
Do these lawmakers really want to stop gun violence or are they more concerned with their image and self-advancement? They are literally harming our community with every stroke of the pen they make!
Let’s rise up together and demand these lawmakers stop immediately and hold them accountable at the next election. Let’s overturn these dangerous laws and give our law enforcement community to do their jobs and make our City as safe as we all want it to be!
SUPPORTING EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICES TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE
San Jose City Councilmembers should be supporting and funding evidence based practices which drive down gun violence like hiring more police officers, developing education programs to deter youth from gangs, drugs, and other dangerous activities, investing in dedicated police officers to solve gun crimes, distributing free gun locks, and enforcing existing laws while prosecuting those who violate them.
An area that needs major improvement is investing in technology to proactively identify hotspots for violent crimes and placing various types of resources in those spots to prevent violence from occurring. The city auditor reports show that violent criminals prey upon our lower income and minority community members, especially in Districts 3, 5, and 7. With our extremely slow police response rates, it is no wonder that families want to be able to protect themselves in case the police don’t make it on time.
ENFORCING AND PROSECUTING EXISTING GUN LAWS
San Jose should be focusing our law enforcement efforts on solving gun-related crimes, especially guns brought in illegally from across state lines, guns purchased through felony straw purchases, and especially ghost guns, which are home-built guns where the builder does not follow CA laws including passing a background check and acquiring a serial number prior to construction. Possession of a ghost gun is a felony and should be prosecuted fully.
BUILDING MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITALS AND FUNDING SOBRIETY PROGRAMS
San Jose is suffering from a pandemic of mental illness and drug addiction which is fueling a dangerous rise in violent crimes. Criminals prey upon the vulnerable in our community especially our homeless population where 42% suffer from mental illness and another 36% suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. (http://www.sanJoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/85899).
Our mentally ill and drug addicted community members have been failed by our County, State, and Federal governments. They are suffering from conditions which require major treatment and intervention immediately. San José is dealing with the consequences of our Federal, State, and County leader’s inaction and is struggling because this is not something the City is funded for nor has the experience to handle. Social services are not provided by our City government because this falls outside the City Charter. State, and County governments have more money now than they ever have and they are not fulfilling their obligations. In fact, they seem to be enabling the crisis.
A majority of police involved shooting incidents in San Jose occurred with mentally ill suspects.
Let’s make our County, State, and Federal elected officials listen to us and demand that they fund and reopen hospitals for our mentally ill and drug addicted neighbors immediately. They can use some of the massive $76 Billion budget surplus Gavin Newsom boasted about this year from our outrageously high taxes in this state. California and San Jose deserve better.
CONCEALED CARRY WEAPON PERMITS SHOULD BE GRANTED
A Concealed Carry Weapons permit (or CCW) is the only means by which citizens may legally carry a firearm in public in California. The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” and that the amendment guarantees “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”
We all know that the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, however, the San Jose Police Department and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office generally do not grant CCWs to its citizens. This needs to change. CCWs should be issued for civilians who meet the legal requirements and have the required training. This is one of the few tools that saves lives which our county and our city refuse to utilize.
Any Californian who understands and accepts the responsibility of carrying a firearm should be able to carry one if they are legally allowed to and meet all the training and regulatory requirements including background checks and more.
In 2013 there was a major survey of 15,000 police officers nationwide on this subject and 91% of them are in agreement with civilian concealed carry permits being issued. 80% of police respondents from the same survey stated armed citizens would reduce the number of persons hurt in mass shootings.
There is no evidence that CCW holders use a firearm to commit a crime, however there is evidence that CCW holders can help mitigate a mass-shooting tragedy and CCWs are part of a strategy to deter criminal behavior and save lives.