California Attorney General Bonta visits Central California to discuss gun violence prevention

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Across the state, thousands of people lost their lives far too soon due to gun violence.

Attorney General Rob Bonta said every life matters, which is why he hosted a roundtable hosted by the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission to discuss further ways to combat the ongoing epidemic.

“Our gun death rate in California is 40 percent below the national average. Over the course of 30 years, we have gone from one of the states with the highest gun death rate to one of the states with the lowest,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Aaron Foster, program director of EOC Advance Peace Fresno, is just one of the people affected by the death of a loved one by gunshot.

“Yesterday was the anniversary of the murder of my daughter and four days before that of my son,” Foster said.

Foster is not alone.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office has investigated five homicides so far this year, three of which involved the use of a firearm.

Last year there were 20 murders, in 11 cases a firearm was used.

In the city of Fresno, the number of shootings has now decreased overall.

There have been 101 shootings so far this year, 170 last year, and 201 shootings in 2022.

Bonta says he wants to capitalize on that decline. Thursday's discussion with community organizations was his fourth across the state.

He says the meetings have shown him that the people who have been affected by gun violence themselves and have overcome their wounds are the ones who can best help stop this violence.

“These people need and deserve funding to do their work. They are accomplishing what we want for our communities: safer communities, preventing gun violence, saving lives,” Bonta said.

For Foster, this money is critical to his work with Advance Peace and to getting people to lay down their weapons.

“You don't solve disputes with guns. You have alternatives and there are many. We don't want a gun to even be part of a solution,” Foster said.

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