REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION
Santa Clara County has been a national leader in many areas involving Public and Behavioral Health, asserting itself irrespective of state and federal policy. The Florida school shooting coupled with others, have caused a tipping point. Once again we are morally called upon to take the lead at a local level to protect people from harm nationwide.
Despite California’s current stringent gun laws, which include a mandatory 10-day waiting period before the firearms dealer can deliver the firearm to the purchaser, firearms regulatory actions have not been able to quell this epidemic.
The county’s current legislative priorities relating to firearm safety include:
1. Promote a culture of responsible and informed gun ownership.
2. The safe use and storage of guns.
3. Require a criminal and mental health background check, waiting period, and safety certificate to purchase a firearm.
4. Provide law enforcement the resources necessary to make sure people prohibited from possessing firearms surrender their weapons to a law enforcement agency.
5. A ban on weapons and ammunition that allow for rapid reloading and multiple rounds of ammunition, such as “bullet buttons” and high capacity magazines.
The Gun Violence and Mental Health Summit should be modeled after the Older Adult Summit held on June 1, 2011, launched by my office, which identified critical needs and recommendations that are ongoing today. Firearms dealers (FFL’s) should be invited and encouraged to attend along with other members of the community to engage in productive dialogue.
The District 3 office has previously worked with County Counsel on the legal analysis necessary to make certain existing mental health information available to firearms dealers in Santa Clara County for use in identifying mental health red flags prior to and during the sale firearms. Making available certain critical mental health information, with the informed consent of the applicant during a criminal background check process, could help to prevent these mass shootings.
We should move past the current rhetoric and acknowledge that anyone who engages in mass shootings, particularly among children, has significant mental health issues, whether it has been diagnosed or not.