Could CA's red flag laws hold key to solving Oakland's gun problem?

ByRyan Curry via KGO logo
Friday, September 30, 2022
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Could red flag laws help solve Oakland's gun problem? Here's how San Diego has been able to drastically reduce homicides by restraining orders.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland has seen 96 homicides this year. Only seven of them have not involved guns. This comes as a shooting broke out near a school in East Oakland. Six people were sent to the hospital.

SEE ALSO: Oakland school shooting likely gang-related with at least 2 shooters, police say; 2 student victims

"There are a lot of ways they can get guns, they don't have to walk into the store and buy guns," said Brenda Grisham with Oakland Dept. of Violence Prevention. "They are on the streets anybody can get a gun. Our main thing is to try and figure how to stop them from getting them."

Oakland police says they have recovered over 1,100 guns this year. Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong says they are moving some officers into full time homicide investigations. However, shootings are still happening at an alarming rate.

One option is implementing what is done in San Diego. Through the City Attorney's office, they implement gun restraining orders against people who may be a harm to themselves or others. It is part of the state's red flag laws.

"What we tell people is if you see something, say something. Just don't take a chance," said Mara Elliot, San Diego City Attorney. "We work well with our law enforcement. The process begins there. People can alert them. We will investigate it, and if we think there is a chance for gun violence we will intervene and we will ask the court to review a situation."

RELATED: Oakland police making changes to crack down on gun violence after 9 killed in 9 days

Elliot says San Diego has issued around 950 gun violence restraining orders since 2017. She says that is people who not only were a threat for harm, but also needed a reason to seek help.

"We have an instance where a drug addicted veteran was posing a threat," she said. "We stepped in a removed the threat and then that person was able to go and get necessary recovery."

Oakland and San Diego have remarkably different homicide rates. Through June of 2022, Oakland has seen a homicide rate of 12.8% per 100,000 people. San Diego had only seen 2.1%.

Gun violence restraining orders can be implemented statewide, but San Diego took is a mission to really crack down on gun violence. Elliot thinks it is something Oakland should also consider.

"I think that it is our responsibility to keep our community," Elliot said. "Gun violence restraining orders have proven to be an effective tool for doing that."

TAKE ACTION: Local resources for survivors and victims of gun violence

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