Why Gun Violence Prevention is a San Diego Issue

City council candidates do not often address the issue of gun violence prevention in a substantive way.. The “three Ps” - parks, potholes and porta-potties - take precedence, while gun violence prevention is mentioned briefly, if at all. I know that there are many issues that I must address as a city council member, and I also know that gun violence and its impact on the residents of San Diego and District 7 merits more than a brief discussion.

Handgun and bulletsGun violence doesn’t discriminate. While people typically think of gun violence being an inner-city issue- which it certainly is - it is also a problem in suburban and rural areas. And while murder is the predominate focus when discussing gun violence, the majority of gun deaths are suicides.More than 65% of all gun deaths in the U.S. - in excess of 20,000 per year - are suicides. The majority of deaths by gun suicide are older, white males. In fact this week, KPBS reported that San Diego ranks the highest in the country for veteran suicides. When suicides account for 65% of all gun deaths, San Diego can - and must - address this crisis and reduce gun deaths in our city. Another alarming truth is that teen suicide is on the rise. And when guns are accessible to teens at risk, the result can be deadly. It’s clear that gun violence should really be everyone’s issue, regardless of race, income or social status.

Gun violence is an issue that intersects with many other community issues such as healthcare, immigration, women’s rights, racial justice, homelessness, and the environment. An example of one of the many connections between gun violence prevention and community is that our city employees, the police and fire departments, are the first responders to the scenes with armed individuals and/or shootings. They are placed in grave danger every single time they come onto a scene with a gun involved. During a time when these heroic city employees are already spread thin, gun violence can add extra strain to a system that is already stressed. Our health professionals also bear the brunt of gun violence incidents- something many doctors and nurses certainly did not plan for when they chose their professions.

Just think, if we can prevent gun violence, through community outreach and early interventions, we can make all communities safer for those who work there and call it home. Now THAT is something all candidates should get behind!