California to launch nation's first gun violence prevention office

California is establishing a new state office dedicated to preventing gun violence, bringing agencies, advocacy groups and nonprofits together to battle the growing problem.

Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the new, first of its kind Office of Gun Violence Prevention Wednesday in San Francisco.

"We are in a full on crisis, a full on state of emergency," Bonta said. "In order to fight this it’s going to take new efforts, creative approaches and new action."

The new office will serve as a hub between federal, state and local partners that will promote research and data collection, and increase awareness about effective legal and policy strategies.

It also aims to expand efforts to reduce gun violence from crisis prevention to firearm availability.

Despite California’s efforts at legislation, gun buy-backs, and other violence prevention programs, in 2020, firearms were the leading cause of death among children.

Bonta said on average 120 people are shot and killed each day in the U.S.

"This crisis demands more than thoughts and prayers," he said. "It demands action now, and we are delivering."

He said while prosecutions and accountability for gun crimes are important, more strides need to be made to collaborate and stop the cycle of crimes from happening.

A nationwide search is underway to recruit the office’s first director, and a webpage was launched to provide resources to reduce gun violence.

The announcement for the state office was made outside United Playaz, a violence prevention organization on Howard Street. Several advocates and victims’ family members joined alongside the attorney general armed with a message.

"This epidemic has paralyzed all of us, and it has gotten out of control and is out of hand," said Mattie Scott, whose son was killed by gun violence.

Scott said the 24-year-old father of two sons was gunned down in 1996, during a fight at a graduation party in San Francisco.

She recalled how recent shootings and a cycle of violence is plaguing the streets.

"Every time I hear of a mother losing her son or someone losing their mother to domestic violence because of a gun, it rattles my soul," Scott said. "I want to go to graduations; I don’t want to go to funerals. I’m tired of funerals."

Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU