California has become the first state in the nation to create an office dedicated to preventing gun violence, The Washington Post reports.
On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the creation of the California Department of Justice’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will work with stakeholders to develop strategies to tackle the issue of gun violence in the U.S.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has been proactive in trying to tighten gun laws, even using Republican anti-abortion tactics to do so, the Post notes. Bonta has also taken a strong stance on gun reform, even having previously defended a ban on semi-automatic weapon sales in the state.
Still, there has been some criticism regarding the new office. “They’re trying to tie firearms in with public health. Through a new agency no less,” Xavier Rowe, a gun violence statistician and legislation researcher in Dallas, told the California Globe. “They’re saying it is to reduce gun violence, but honestly, it seems like it won’t do anything.”
There is currently no timeline as to when a director of the new office might be appointed.
“We are in a full-on crisis, full-on state of emergency, and in order to fight this epidemic, it’s going to take new efforts, creative approaches and new action,” Bonta said during a news conference. “That’s why we’re here today.”