Supervisor Lawson-Remer Calls for County to Support Governor's Right to Safety Amendment

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Ending a historic week where 23 gun violence reduction bills were signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer held a summit to highlight actions taken in San Diego County to curb gun violence; and explore new opportunities. At the conclusion of the Summit, she called for widespread support of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Right to Safety Amendment    

“I want the County of San Diego to put full support behind Governor Gavin Newsom’s Right to Safety Amendment,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer at a press briefing held after the Summit. “In October I will bring a resolution for my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to vote to support California’s pursuit of a 28th Amendment. We must do everything possible.  

“I challenge other counties and cities in California to support the Governor’s Amendment. We need to do everything we can to put pressure on other states to join us in calling for a Constitutional Convention.” 

The Right to Safety Amendment preserves the 2nd Amendment and would ensure the people’s elected representatives can determine what gun safety laws are appropriate for their communities and enshrine fundamental, broadly supported gun safety measures into law, including:

  • Raising the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21
  • Mandating universal background checks
  • Instituting a waiting period for all gun purchases
  • Banning the sale of assault weapons and other weapons of war to civilians

Supervisor Lawson-Remer was joined at the press briefing at the County Administration Center by Summit panelists, including keynote California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Council President Pro tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and April Laster, Founder and CEO of Open Heart Leaders who provided their reflections on the day. 

“There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023; gun violence is now the leading cause of death for American children. Enough has long-been enough,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Gun safety laws work, and yet time and time again, they’ve been stopped or delayed from being implemented by the gun lobby and the politicians in their pockets. I am grateful for the opportunity to join our partners in San Diego as we discuss creative and collaborative solutions, including investing in lifesaving violence intervention programs that work to break cycles of retaliatory shootings and pushing forward in our efforts to hold the firearms industry accountable. Whether by seizing firearms from potentially dangerous individuals, taking the gun industry to court, or seeking a constitutional amendment, California is committed to ending gun violence and keeping our people safe.”

“We can’t get positive solutions to gun violence without proper dialogue, building trust, and forging meaningful, genuine relationships with our community,” said Council President pro Tem Montgomery Steppe.

“I look forward to working closely with our elected officials, community leaders, and stakeholders to create a public safety ecosystem--a system of interconnected pieces interacting with one another. We highlight those moving pieces of the structure that keep our communities safe and thriving.”

April Laster, Founder and CEO, Open Heart Leaders said, “All communities must honestly unpack Gun Violence and address it in correspondence to raw data and not feelings. Unpacking the Data gives insight into addressing the root cause instead of being hyper focused on people’s feelings.”

The four panels focused on Suicide Prevention, Protecting Children, Community-Driven Peace Work and Holding the Firearms Industry Accountable. Videos from Congressman Mike Levin and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs were played during the Summit. 

Quotes from Summit Panelists 

“When we come together at summits like this, when we consider what we can do and how we can work together to reduce gun violence, we lay the foundation for tangible action. Today, Supervisor Lawson-Remer brought the right people together,” Senator Catherine Blakespear said. “Now, we do the harder part; we work on implementing the policy ideas and programs discussed today. I look forward to partnering with the people here to ensure San Diego is safe, our children are safe, and we remain a leader in gun violence reduction efforts.”

"Gun violence is now being the leading cause of death for America’s children, and we can no longer wait to act. This summit has illustrated the approaches and solutions that will help solve this crisis, one of them being safe storage. Progress takes time, but right now, people can help end family fire by safely storing their firearms. Our children’s lives depend on it,” said Colleen Creighton, Senior Director of End Family Fire, Brady

"For people to act to protect themselves, they must know the dangers of an unsecured gun in their home - it significantly increases the risk of suicide, death, and unintentional injury to children," said Therese Hymer of San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, who spoke on the Protecting Children panel.  "We discussed diverse means to educate families, including our Safe Firearm Storage Toolkit for School Districts. It provides resources for schools and families to educate everyone in our County to secure any guns in their home, and to ask if there are unsecured guns before their child goes to a friend's house. The Toolkit is available at"

“Working toward a solution to the crisis of gun violence is not possible without the efforts we are seeing from our local leaders. However, California cannot continue to accept the bare minimum from the gun industry,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “I am thankful for Governor Newsom’s leadership in signing SB 2 and AB 28 into law, in addition to the full gun safety package he signed this year. I look forward to the implementation of these new laws and continuing the advancement of California’s efforts to prevent gun violence and save lives.”

“It is imperative that the efforts to end gun violence, in addition to being led by law enforcement and gun violence  prevention advocates on the legal side of things, be led by lived experienced trained community based public safety professionals because they are in the best positions to appeal to the hearts and minds of the streets they came from on these critically important issues. They have the lived experience and necessary training to make the biggest footprint in the hearts and minds of the communities they serve and foster deeper, more meaningful engagement with the affected populations. Shaphat Outreach stands ready to engage in that capacity,” said Bishop Cornelius Bowser, Founder, Shaphat Outreach.

"I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Supervisor Lawson-Remer and all the dedicated leaders and community partners gathered here today, who are tirelessly working towards making San Diego a safer place for everyone,” said Eric Rafla-Yuan, MD. “As we discuss the impacts of gun violence, it's crucial to acknowledge two sobering facts—suicide is the leading cause of gun-related deaths in the US—and more people died from suicide in 2022 than any other year in US history. If you or a loved one is in crisis, remember that 988 is a free and confidential resource. Reach out by phone call, text, or chat online at"  

"It's a privilege to be a part of the conversation around suicide prevention and the military in San Diego. We know that having conversations around lethal means safety is especially important in preventing suicide,” said  Dr. Heidi Kraft, Chief Clinical Officer, PsychArmor. “With our focus on military culture, PsychArmor is uniquely qualified to provide training to start these conversations in our community--home to more than 115,000 service members and more than 200,000 Veterans."

The complete list of participants in the Gun Violence Reduction Summit were:

  • Terra Lawson-Remer, Supervisor, County of San Diego Board of Supervisors
  • Rob Bonta, Attorney General, State of California
  • Monica Montgomery-Steppe, Councilmember, City of San Diego
  • Therese Hymer, Legislation and Advocacy Team Lead, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention
  • Colleen Creighton, Director of End Family Fire, Brady United 
  • April Laster, Founder and CEO, Open Heart Leaders 
  • Bishop Cornelius Bowser, Founder, Shaphat Outreach 
  • Ari Frelich, Director, California Office of Gun Violence Prevention 
  • Catherine Blakespear, Senator, State of California
  • Marni von Wilpert, Councilmember, City of San Diego
  • Mara W. Elliott, City Attorney, City of San Diego 
  • Chris Ward, Assemblymember, State of California
  • Dr. Eric Rafla-Yuan, MD, 988 Technical Advisor, California’s Office of Emergency Services 
  • Dr. Luke Bergmann, Director, County of San Diego Behavioral Health 
  • Dr. Heidi Kraft Ph.D., Chief Clinical Officer, PsychArmor  

Supervisor Lawson-Remer has listened to gun violence prevention advocates about their concerns and ideas; and worked with the community to take action by: 

  • making ghost guns illegal in San Diego County, 
  • training County social workers to know the signs of potential gun violence in a home, 
  • requiring all firearms in unincorporated areas to be safely stored with a  trigger lock, or using a container, and 
  • Authorizing the County law department to join and pursue lawsuits against gun manufacturers.  

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