Under California State Law, the Attorney General is required to provide an annual report to the legislature on the specific types of firearms used in the commission of crimes. The most recent report available from the Attorney General’s website is the 2010 edition, which evaluates just 175 firearms reported, in a year that California saw 1,257 murders committed with firearms, according to FBI data. Of those murders, 953 were committed with handguns, 59 with rifles, 44 with shotguns, and 201 with a type of firearm not known or reported.
The problem is that although state law requires the Attorney General to produce the report, local police jurisdictions and crime labs are not legislatively required to provide data for the report.
Indeed, the 2010 report notes that it includes only firearms linked to violent crimes that were examined by the California Bureau of Forensic Services, which primarily services rural areas in the state. As a result, “the data in this report may not represent gun-use trends within urban areas or within California as a whole.”
City of Alameda officials confirmed for Action Alameda News that the Alameda Police Department does not provide data to the State for the report.
To be sure, Alameda has a low rate of violent crime compared to other nearby cities. Alameda Police Department data reveals just one murder in 2010, and 40 weapons offenses.
By comparison, nearby Oakland saw 90 murders and 6,267 violent crimes in 2010, according to FBI data, which is compiled from local agency submissions.
Oakland Police Department data for 2010 shows over 900 aggravated assaults connected with a firearm that year, and almost 700 weapons (carrying/possessing) offenses.
Just this week, California Democratic Assemblymembers released a statement touting nine bills intended to curb gun violence.
The bills range from tightening restrictions on the sale and resale of guns, or the sale of ammunition, to forcing CalPERS and CalSTRS, the State’s massive public employee and teachers, respectively, pension funds, to divest any investments in companies that sell firearms or ammunition.
None of the announced bills address the question of collecting statistics on firearms use in the commission of crimes.
Representatives for California Assemblymember for the 15th district, Nancy Skinner, declined to comment for this article.
Staff for Rob Bonta, Assemblymember for the 18th district, representing Alameda and neighboring cities, did not respond to a request for comment.