Amid economic and political turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic, California saw a record increase in the sale of handguns last year, and the number of long-gun purchases was higher than it has been in four years, state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said Thursday.
With gun violence also surging, Bonta called on local law enforcement to step up efforts to reduce shootings, including use of a state law that allows judges to order temporary removal of firearms from people deemed a public danger.
“While violent crime rates are still well below their historical highs in the early ‘90s, the increases we’ve seen during this pandemic are unacceptable,” Bonta said. “In California and across the country, gun violence in particular continues to be a uniquely American health crisis.”
Statewide, there were 2,202 homicides reported in 2020, an increase of 31.1% over the year before, according to a separate report released Thursday by the state Department of Justice. Bonta said the vast majority of those homicides involved guns.
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