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‘Gun violence is a public health issue’: LA County unveils platform to address firearm homicides

LOS ANGELES (CNS): The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health unveiled Friday its multi-point Gun Violence Prevention Platform to address firearm homicides impacting communities in the county and across the country.

“There have been far too many families and communities in L.A. County impacted by violence that is both predictable and preventable,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “Stronger gun regulations and innovative solutions that are laid out in the Gun Violence Prevention Platform are necessary steps to address this crisis and prevent acts of violence, including mass shootings, that take the lives of friends, neighbors and community members.”

Ferrer said in the first 11 weeks of 2023, the country experienced more than 100 mass shootings, including the deadly mass shooting that occurred in Monterey Park in January.

The 40-point platform includes a range of strategies spanning prevention, intervention and healing. The platform also identifies four priorities as critical steps toward making the county safe and secure:

— Gun safety legislation: Advocate for robust gun safety legislation, locally and nationally, with a focus on the reinstatement of the federal ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

— Social connections and healing services: Support efforts to promote social connections, healing practices and a culture of peace.

— Gun violence restraining orders awareness and enforcement: Improve awareness and access to gun violence restraining orders. Ensure that services, systems and messaging are culturally relevant and make it easy for community residents to initiate gun violence restraining orders.

— School safety and services: Increase access to comprehensive, culturally relevant physical and mental health supports and services for all K-12. Enhance school safety by implementing pilot initiatives in at least three school districts.

The platform was developed and will be implemented by a diverse group of county and community partners including community and faith leaders, health care and mental health professionals.

The platform was informed by data that shows the impact of systemic racism in perpetuating a cycle of violence that leaves young people of color in the county experiencing the highest rates of death by firearms, according to Public Health officials.

“Gun violence is a public health issue,” said Susan Stone, L.A. Care’s senior medical director of utilization and care management services. “As the largest public health plan in the country, serving many who have suffered from gun violence, L.A. Care is committed to working with our county partners in taking a stand against gun violence and for gun safety, making people’s lives safer and healthier.”

Kevin Orange, a community violence interventionist for Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention and executive director of Advocates for Peace and Urban Unity, said the community needs to come together to address trauma and anxiety and end gun violence.



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