Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a bill that will expand California’s gun violence prevention services and combat the nationwide gun violence epidemic. Assembly Bill 1929, authored by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), will expand Medi-Cal reimbursements to include violence prevention programs, a method that has proven to be effective in curbing retaliation and reducing the risks of further violence, Gabriel said.
“Gun violence is an urgent public health crisis that demands action on multiple fronts,” he added. “While Republicans in Washington continue to obstruct progress, we are committed to moving forward common-sense gun safety measures to protect our kids and our communities. AB 1929 expands access and increases funding for violence prevention programs, which have proven to be successful at reducing violence and saving lives.”
AB 1929 was signed into law as part of an expedited package of bills that address the current gun violence crisis. There have already been more than 300 mass shootings this year in the United States, Gabriel said, including more than 100 since the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead on May 24. Mass shootings have been on the rise in recent years. In 2021, almost 700 mass shooting incidents occurred, an increase from 611 in 2020 and 417 in 2019. Before that, incidents had not topped 400 annually since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking incidents in 2014.
In urban areas of the United States, studies have shown that up to 41% of patients treated for violent injuries, such as shootings, are re-injured within five years. One survey of victims of violence at a five-year follow-up found that 20% of patients treated for violent injury had died. This “revolving door” phenomenon is well-documented in the medical literature and a recent systematic review of 19 studies on violent reinjury rates has confirmed its prevalence, Gabriel said.
In response to these alarming trends, violence prevention programs have been identified as one of the most innovative and effective strategies.
“Our health care systems have saved countless lives from gun violence, but while emergency physicians can treat a bullet wound, we have a difficult time addressing a patient’s risk of re-injury and retaliation,” said Dr. Lori Winston, president of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
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