Supervisor Cortese Calls for a Gun Violence and Mental Health Summit

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Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese

In the wake of the recent Florida school shooting, Supervisor Dave Cortese will ask the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, February 27, to reaffirm the County’s efforts to prevent gun-related deaths and mass shootings and formally endorse the March for Our Lives school safety campaign and similar movements underway to protect children. 

Cortese will also ask the Board to approve his proposal for the County to convene a Gun Violence and Mental Health Summit within the next 60 days to address such issues as including mental health diagnosis information in background checks for the purchase of firearms.

“This is a call to our community to come together to share ideas about curbing gun violence and keeping weapons out of the hands of mentally ill people who could harm others or themselves,” said Supervisor Cortese. “That includes firearms retailers, mental health professionals, parents, teachers and anyone who believes that gun safety should be a priority.”

The Gun Violence and Mental Health Summit should be modeled after the Older Adults and Mental Health Summit, which was launched by his office in June 2011, and identified critical needs and recommendations that are ongoing today, Cortese said.

The District 3 Office has previously worked with County Counsel in exploring the legalities of making certain mental health information available to gun dealers before and during the background check before a sale. The intent would be to preclude and discourage individuals with a severe mental health diagnosis from buying firearms.

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, regulatory actions have not been able to stop the epidemic of school shootings.

The County’s current legislative priorities relating to firearm safety include:

• Promote a culture of responsible and informed gun ownership.

• The safe use and storage of guns.

• Require a criminal and mental health background check, waiting period, and safety certificate to purchase a firearm.

• Provide law enforcement the resources necessary to make sure people prohibited from possessing firearms surrender their weapons to a law enforcement agency.

• A ban on weapons and ammunition that allow for rapid reloading and multiple rounds of ammunition, such as “bullet buttons” and high capacity magazines.