No Surprise: California AG Xavier Becerra Is Withholding Vital Firearm Statistics and Data

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Posted: Mar 07, 2021 7:15 PM
No Surprise: California AG Xavier Becerra Is Withholding Vital Firearm Statistics and Data

Source: Greg Nash/Pool via AP

The California Department of Justice, under Attorney General Xavier Becerra's leadership, is withholding vital firearm-related statistics from researchers at the UC Davis Firearm Violence Research Center, a prominent "gun violence prevention" program.

The UCFC was established to study gun control policies and their impact on society. The researchers at UC Davis play a vital role in California's anti-gun agenda. They frequently recommend policies that are said to curb "firearm violence."

The UCFC is highly revered in gun control circles because of their frequent push to limit Californian's Second Amendment rights. Their policy proposals are so highly regarded that when now-Vice President Kamala Harris served as attorney general, she pushed the state legislature to fund the UCFC's research. The law passed in 2016, with tax dollars flowing to the program. 

Researchers at UCFC, however, have a problem: their research projects are at a standstill without updated data, The Sacramento Bee reported. 

One of the big research projects UCFC took on was determining whether or not Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) – commonly referred to as "red flag laws" – made a difference in curbing gun deaths. 

With ERPOs, a family member, coworker, teacher or member of law enforcement can have a person's firearms seized if the gun owner is determined to be a threat to themselves or someone else. It's one of the most controversial gun control policies Democrats have pushed in recent years. Second Amendment supporters oppose red flag laws because of the lack of due process. Democrats, however, believe the laws are crucial. 

The DOJ eventually released data, which allowed the UCFC to publish a 2019 study that stated red flag laws work. But, again, the DOJ is blocking the data from being sent to researchers. 

On top of blocking data that Becerra's office is legally mandated to release, DOJ officials told the UCFC to delete the previous data and end the study. 

Former State Sen. Lois Wolk (D) previously wrote the law that funded the UCFC. She now serves on the center's advisory board and said the DOJ's failure to provide data "jeopardizes California's standing as a national leader of gun violence research."

“The importance of data and research is to create successful policy outcomes,” Wolk told The Bee. “Without it, you are flying blind. Whatever is happening with respect to stopping research has to end.”

The DOJ cited confidential information as a reason for the data halt. 

“The California Department of Justice values data-driven research and its role in pushing forward informed public policy to help combat problems like gun violence,” the spokesperson told The Bee. “We also take seriously our duty to protect Californians’ sensitive personally identifying information, and must follow the letter of the law regarding disclosures of the personal information in the data we collect and maintain.”

Dr. Garen Wintemute, the center's director since the 1980s, said the program has security measures in place, like limiting the number of researchers who access the data and hosting the records under a password-protected server.

An assemblyman out of San Francisco, Phil Ting (D), currently has a bill moving forward which would serve as a reminder to the DOJ that they have to hand the gun data to the UCFC.

But this brings up a bigger point: what are Becerra and his DOJ hiding? What is it they don't what the UCFC – and the public, for that matter – to know?

The only logical conclusion is that the data would be a massive blow to the gun control agenda. California is constantly looked at as one of the leaders of "curbing gun violence." Any time members of Congress contemplate implementing stricter anti-Second Amendment laws, states like California, Illinois and New York, are frequently brought up. If red flag laws aren't working in the Golden State, that means they would be considered a failure in other states across the nation.

Month-over-month, we have seen a record number of new gun owners. The pandemic and rioting last summer caused that number to soar to record highs. But those numbers are based on background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), meaning a record number of law-abiding citizens are utilizing their Second Amendment rights. That bucks many of the gun control narratives.

Tell us, Xavier, what are you hiding? Are you protecting yourself, your department, your party or the gun control movement? We would all like answers.