San Diego County officials want residents to share their thoughts about gun violence during upcoming “listening sessions” around the county.
The effort is part of an assessment of the issue in the region. The goal is to identify what services and programs are necessary to curb gun violence, officials said.
Comments collected during the “listening sessions” will be incorporated into the findings and recommendations in the final report, according to the California-based research nonprofit Health Assessment and Research for Communities, known as HARC.
The county contracted with the organization to conduct the “needs assessment.” The study will take into account suicides and domestic violence.
Residents will be encouraged to share their opinions about the topic and their personal experiences with gun violence, according to HARC.
The dates and times for the sessions are:
- Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. at Remnant Church in San Diego, 3060 54th St.
- Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library, 365 F St.
- Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at One Safe Place in San Marcos, 1050 Los Vallecitos Blvd.
- Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at Roland Reagan Community Center in El Cajon, 195 E Douglas Ave.
In addition, a virtual session is planned for 6 p.m. Dec. 1. To join the meeting, visit https://tinyurl.com/GVRLS2.
The plans for the session were developed after the Board of Supervisors asked staff in October of last year to identify strategies to curb gun violence. County staff convened a group of employees and community members. It was that group that recommended the assessment.
In April, the Board of Supervisors moved forward with the recommendation and authorized staff to find a contractor to conduct the study.
According to HARC, the assessment will identify communities most impacted by gun violence, gaps in existing resources and best practices in gun violence reduction and prevention.
In September, the county created a Gun Violence Reduction Advisory Group that will provide input regarding community engagement, data and other matters during the course of the assessment.
The group is comprised of 17 representatives from community-based groups, law enforcement and various county departments. They include Remnant Church Pastor Jesus Sandoval, who works to help community members leave behind gang life; Joshua Smith, a senior epidemiologist with the county; sheriff’s Commander Brian Nevins and Gina Roberts, a member of the governing body of the county’s Republican Party.
“The Advisory Group is dedicated to representing the County’s diversity of viewpoints and ensuring the project is grounded in the needs and interests of the community,” according to HARC.
In April, when the Board of Supervisors approved the assessment, Supervisors Jim Desmond and Joel Anderson asked that the county to consider various perspectives. Desmond pointed to advocates of the Second Amendment.
“Most of them advocate for gun safety,” Desmond said during the board’s meeting. “It’s critically important that we have a diversity of opinions on the table.”
For additional information about the “listening sessions” and to set up language translation services ahead of time, contact HARC at [email protected]