Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is withholding gun violence data from a state-funded research institution tasked by lawmakers with evaluating California’s firearm regulations and also is directing universities to destroy records the agency previously released.
Researchers at the UC Davis California Firearm Violence Research Center say that over the last several years, the Department of Justice has made it increasingly difficult to access data only it maintains, despite a legal mandate to provide the records. The Legislature in 2016 passed a law to establish and fund the center, which works alongside an existing gun violence research program at UC Davis. The idea was to support independent research to identify policies that best prevent deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. The researchers are hitting a wall, however, when asking Becerra’s agency for data on gun violence restraining orders, firearm sales records and the state’s effort to disarm individuals who pose a danger to themselves and the public. Without the data, center Director Dr. Garen Wintemute said, certain research projects are now impossible to complete. [full article]