The County of Santa Clara

Board Referral
Approved as Amended
Feb 27, 2018 9:30 AM

Consider the following recommendations relating to Gun Violence and Mental Health. (Cortese)


Department:Supervisor Dave Cortese (Supervisorial District Three)Sponsors:
Category:Board Referral

Multiple Recommendations

Possible action:
a. Direct County Counsel to prepare a resolution reaffirming the county's efforts to prevent gun related deaths and mass shootings and to formally endorse the efforts of "March for Our Lives" and similar movements currently underway to protect children.
b. Direct the County Executive's Office and the Behavioral Health Department to work with the Board of Supervisors to convene a Gun Violence and Mental Health Summit within the next 60 days, modeled after the successful 2011 Older Adult Summit. Among other issues, the summit should address the need to create a process whereby individuals who have severe mental health diagnosis are precluded or discouraged from acquiring firearms in Santa Clara County.
c. Direct County Counsel to provide further legal analysis on how the county might use its police power and land use authority to require that certain mental health information be flagged as part of background checks for firearms purchases and transfers in Santa Clara County.





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.

Meeting History

Feb 27, 2018 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Ten individuals addressed the Board.

At the request of Supervisor Cortese the Board directed Administration to work with the Board of Supervisors to determine an appropriate name for the Summit.

At the request of President Simitian, the Board directed the County Executive to collaborate with the Public Health Department to investigate collecting detailed data relating to gun-related violence and injuries.

At the request of Vice President Chavez, the Board directed Administration to partner with the Office of the Sheriff relating to opportunities to improve school campus safety.

MOVER:Dave Cortese, Supervisor
SECONDER:Ken Yeager, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian