San Mateo County leaders have launched a new initiative to remove more guns from the hands of felons, stalkers and others prohibited from possessing firearms.
The new San Mateo County Gun Violence Prevention Program, announced on Wednesday by a collective of elected and civil leaders, will work to both remove firearms from prohibited people and expedite firearm restraining order applications.
The two-year program calls on several public agencies to work together to achieve its goals — the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force of the District Attorney’s Office will work alongside law enforcement to recover firearms, while San Mateo County Superior Court will streamline restraining orders.
County leaders hope the program will prevent firearms from falling into ownership of people charged with felonies, domestic violence restraining orders, hate crime convictions and other charges that deemed them an immediate risk to themselves or others.
“We are going to make an impact here. It will save lives.”Stephen Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney
“The county’s innovative program puts teeth behind specific investigations and facilitates better implementation of existing law,” Supervisor Dave Pine said in a statement. “In so doing, we will get more firearms off the street and better protect victims, survivors, and the community at large.”
The program follows a gun violence summit hosted in March, where county agencies and community organizations discussed the best ways to keep the public safe from gun violence.
Since then, the Board of Supervisors dedicated $2 million to launch a gun violence prevention program, funded thanks to a voter-approved Measure K half-cent sales tax.
“We are going to make an impact here,” San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said in a statement. “It will save lives.”
Julia Weber, implementation director and domestic violence expert at the nonprofit Giffords Law Center, referred to the county’s efforts as “commendable” and something that should serve as a model for other communities across the country.
“Fair and effective implementation of gun safety policies and procedures saves lives and we’ve been honored to be a part of the cutting-edge work being done in San Mateo County,” Weber said in a statement.