Congressman leads discussion on gun control in San Jose

Gun violence has become a daily threat in various communities across the Bay Area, encompassing mass shootings, street attacks, and domestic violence incidents. With this crisis in mind, Congressman Jimmy Panetta organized a roundtable discussion on Friday with local leaders to explore potential measures to address or at least slow down this escalating issue. Panetta emphasized the overwhelming impact of gun violence, stating, “We’re inundated and unfortunately it can lead us to be very, very overwhelmed.”

One of the participants in the roundtable was Santa Clara County Sheriff Bob Jonsen, who witnessed a significant increase in applications for concealed carry permits. Jonsen proposed introducing a mandatory psychological examination for individuals seeking such permits, along with other measures. He also emphasized the importance of safe storage laws, making sure gun owners store their weapons securely, particularly in Santa Clara County.

During the discussion, Congressman Panetta highlighted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill passed last year that provides additional protections for domestic violence victims, funds community-based violence prevention initiatives, strengthens red flag laws, and enhances background checks for individuals under 21. Despite these accomplishments, Panetta acknowledged that more still needs to be done.

Universal background checks were mentioned as a crucial next step by Panetta. He described this measure as a common-sense law, emphasizing the need for individuals to undergo background checks before possessing a firearm. Panetta emphasized the importance of not only advocating for this bill but also allocating funds to ensure its effective implementation.

Representatives from Moms Demand Action, an advocacy group, were also present at the roundtable. They discussed the significance of incremental yet meaningful solutions. Mariya Hodge, a member of the group, mentioned the recent passage of SB-417 by the state legislature. This new law requires gun dealers to display warning signs informing customers of the increased risks of suicide, injury, and death associated with access to firearms in homes.

Another proposal put forward during the discussion was increasing funding for the SJPD task force. This task force focuses on removing untraceable ghost guns from the streets. Lieutenant Paul Hamblin of SJPD revealed that an alarming percentage of gun crimes are committed using these ghost guns.

The consensus among the participants was that California has the potential to lead the nation on gun violence prevention, starting from a local level. Mike McLibely of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence commended San Jose as a national model for this work, with a low homicide rate decades ahead of many other cities. Congressman Panetta pledged to bring the perspectives voiced during the discussion back to Washington, taking action and advocating for funding to support these local programs.

These discussions, according to Panetta, serve as the foundation for shaping the agenda when he returns to Washington. They enable him to actively pursue solutions to the crisis of gun violence and secure the necessary funding for effective local programs.

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