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Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisors Terra Lawson Remer want to further strengthen the County of San Diego’s position on protecting residents from unnecessary gun violence by holding gun manufacturers accountable through litigation. Today, during a press conference, alongside gun control advocates, the Supervisors announced the details of the policy ahead of the June 14th Board of Supervisors meeting where it will be considered for a vote. 

“At the local level, we want to do everything within our authority to protect our residents from gun violence, and while it’s a constitutional right for someone to own a gun, the manufacturers of firearms must play an active role in in making sure their lethal products do not get into the wrong hands,” said Chair Fletcher. “We want to use this policy to put pressure on manufacturers to be responsible corporate citizens. They shouldn’t be allowed to rake in money and then sit idly-by as people using their product perform mass shootings.” 

Building upon efforts they introduced and passed to ban unserialized ghost guns and require safe gun storage, Chair Fletcher and Supervisor Lawson-Remer want the County to take every action to help prevent gun violence 

“Gun manufacturing is a multi-billion business that profits off deadly products and these corporations cannot get away with deliberately evading the law, marketing to kids, and other reckless and illegal actions," said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. "It's time to take our fight for common-sense gun safety from the statehouse to the courthouse, and hold firearm manufacturers accountable in a court of law for their role in deadly shootings."

If approved Tuesday, San Diego County would be joining other government agencies in using litigation as a means to take action against gun manufacturers. For example:

  • Citing the surge in deadly gun violence and the alarming number of untraceable guns recovered during police investigations, the Los Angeles City Attorney joined an expansive lawsuit against Nevada-based Polymer80 — purportedly one of the nation’s largest sellers of “ghost guns” kits and component parts that enable buyers to build fully functional guns at home without complying with background checks or gun serialization requirements. 

  • Baltimore also recently joined several other cities by suing Polymer80 for its role in facilitating the market for kits and components of firearms over the internet.

The Supervisors do not have a specific lawsuit they are wishing the County join at this time, however approval of this policy will activate the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to consult with the Sheriff and other relevant departments, to work with other law enforcement agencies to receive copies of their reports related to weapon seizure, and bring back recommendations to the Board of Supervisors  for options to initiate litigation against gun manufacturers.

Alarming Statistics

  • Among two­ dozen high income, populous countries including Australia, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, over 80 percent of firearm deaths occur in the U.S. 

  • Over 90 percent of children killed by firearms in this group were from the U.S. 

  • Each year, more than 45,222 people in the U.S. die as a result of gun violence, and tens of thousands more suffer non-fatal gun injuries.

  • Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens.

To read the entire policy, click the link here.