Santa Clara Co. leaders hope gun violence team can save lives, get firearms off streets

Santa Clara County is expected to approve nearly $1 million in funding to expand their gun violence team from five members to 23

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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Santa Clara Co. leaders hope gun violence team can save lives
Santa Clara County leaders to approve $1 million in funding for gun violence task force in hopes they can save lives, get firearms off streets.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Despite California's strict gun laws, Santa Clara County says they do not have enough resources to properly remove guns from people who pose a threat to the community.

On Tuesday, leaders are expected to expand their gun violence task force.

The devastating impacts of gun violence continue to be felt across the country; some instances hitting much too close to home.

RELATED: State, local politicians plead for stricter gun laws nationwide

Leaders in Santa Clara County want to try to make it so no family has to feel the emotional pain of these shootings again.

"We all know in our community too well the negative impacts of gun violence and, in some ways, one of the things I'm most concerned about is we get used to thinking about gun violence as a part of our everyday lives," Santa Clara Co. Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. "But here in our community, we want to say no to that."

That's why at Tuesday's Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting, nearly $1 million in funding is expected to be approved to expand their gun violence team from five members to 23.

These positions will be filled by prosecutors and investigators with the district attorney's office, sheriff's deputies, police officers and federal law enforcement.

RELATED: Molotov cocktails, 12 firearms, 25,000 rounds of ammo found at VTA shooting suspect's home

Molotov cocktails, guns and at least 25,000 rounds of ammo were found at the home of Sam Cassidy, the suspect in the San Jose VTA shooting.

The first-of-its-kind task force in the Bay Area aims to dramatically increase the number of seized guns.

"California has some of the most robust and extensive gun laws in the country," Santa Clara Co. Asst. District Attorney James Gibbons-Shapiro said. "But they need to be meaningful, they need to be effective. And the way they're going to be meaningful and effective is if we're making them meaningful, making them effective by enforcing them."

One of those gun laws is the red flag law - a court restraining order designed to remove both illegal and legal guns from people who make threats to themselves or the community.

We often learn that suspects in mass shootings have been previously labeled as threats and County Supervisor Cindy Chavez says the county hasn't prioritized using red flag laws enough.

RELATED: Map shows how many mass shootings have taken place in 2023 and where in the US

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So with more help from the community reporting these threats, she hopes this task force expansion can lead to expedited restraining orders and more saved lives.

"We're organizing ourselves in a way that allows us to be assertive in intervening instead of being responsive to a 911 call," Chavez said. "So this is really on the preemptive side."

All this in the hopes that the next mass shooting doesn't happen again.

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