SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) joined Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, representatives of Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, and fellow legislators to announce the formation of a new bicameral working group to prevent gun violence in California.
“I’m proud to be one of the people here to announce the formation of the gun violence working group and humbled by the work of my fellow legislators, many of whom have done tremendous work for years on this issue,” said Wicks. “I’m honored to have Gabby in the Capitol today and it’s personally very meaningful to me.”
Congresswoman Giffords served Arizona in the House of Representatives until her time in the House was cut short by a gunman who opened fire on her and a crowd of people during a "Congress on your Corner" constituent event. The attack left 13 injured, including the Congresswoman, and six dead.
Congresswoman Giffords and Assemblymember Wicks were joined by Peter Ambler, Executive Director or Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Ari Freilich who serves as California Legislative Affairs Director for Giffords Law Center, Asm. Jesse Gabriel (D-Van Nuys), Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Asm. Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Asm. Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Asm. Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), and Asm. Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda).
At the press conference, Assemblymember Wicks announced her plan to introduce legislation to establish the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program. Grants from the program would be targeted to support, expand, and replicate evidence-based violence reduction initiatives.
“My first priority as a member of this working group is to build on the successes of violence intervention programs like the Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety,” said Wicks. “It’s been a pioneering program helping to reduce gun violence through outreach, job training, mentorship and social services, as well as interventions to prevent retaliatory violence.”
Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety works with individuals who are most at risk in order to deter them from committing violent acts. Practices include onsite de-escalation and conflict resolution, and even hospital visits to dissuade family members of gun violence victims from engaging in retaliatory attacks. With Richmond’s gun violence rates falling by half from 2009 to 2016, the city’s efforts have been hailed as success; and cities across the country are working to craft their own similar programs.
Following the press conference, Assemblymember Wicks gave a deeply personal introduction for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on the Assembly Floor, to a standing ovation from fellow legislators.
“Gabby personifies courage,” said Wicks, speaking from the Assembly floor. “She, her husband—Navy veteran and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly—and the entire team at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence have worked tirelessly to make our communities safer.”
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks represents California’s 15th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, and Piedmont. You can learn more about Assemblymember Wicks at http://a15.asmdc.org.