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Penal Code - PEN


  ( Part 4 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1385. )

TITLE 12.2. California Firearm Violence Research Act [14230 - 14238]

  ( Title 12.2 added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 24, Sec. 30. )

CHAPTER 1. California Firearm Violence Research Center [14230 - 14232]
  ( Chapter 1 heading added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 728, Sec. 1. )


The Legislature finds and declares the following:

(a) Firearm violence is a significant public health and public safety problem in California and nationwide. Nationally, rates of fatal firearm violence have remained essentially unchanged for more than a decade, as declines in homicide have been offset by increases in suicide.

(b) California has been the site of some of the nation’s most infamous mass shootings, such as those at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, near the University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, and most recently at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Yet public mass shootings account for less than 1 percent of firearm violence. In 2014, there were 2,939 firearm-related deaths in California, including 1,582 suicides, 1,230 homicides, 89 deaths by legal intervention, and 38 unintentional or undetermined deaths. In communities where firearm violence is a frequent occurrence, the very structure of daily life is affected.

(c) Nationwide, the annual societal cost of firearm violence was estimated at $229,000,000,000 in 2012. A significant share of this burden falls on California. In 2013, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development noted that government-sponsored insurance programs covered nearly two-thirds of the costs of hospitalizations for firearm assaults in California, and about one-half of the costs of hospitalizations for unintentional injuries or those resulting from deliberate self-harm.

(d) California has been a leader in responding to this continuing crisis. However, although rates of fatal firearm violence in California are well below average for the 50 states, they are not low enough.

(e) Too little is known about firearm violence and its prevention. This is in substantial part because too little research has been done. The need for more research and more sophisticated research has repeatedly been emphasized. Because there has been so little support for research, only a small number of trained investigators are available.

(f) When confronted by other major health and social problems, California and the nation have mounted effective responses, coupling an expanded research effort with policy reform in the public’s interest. Motor vehicle accidents, cancer, heart disease, and tobacco use are all examples of the benefits of this approach.

(g) Federal funding for firearm violence research through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been virtually eliminated by Congress since 1996, leaving a major gap that must be filled by other sources.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 24, Sec. 30. (AB 1602) Effective June 27, 2016.)


(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to establish a center for research into firearm-related violence. It is the intent of the Legislature that the center be administered by the University of California pursuant to the following principles:

(1) Interdisciplinary work of the center shall address the following:

(A) The nature of firearm violence, including individual and societal determinants of risk for involvement in firearm violence, whether as a victim or a perpetrator.

(B) The individual, community, and societal consequences of firearm violence.

(C) Prevention and treatment of firearm violence at the individual, community, and societal levels.

(2) The center shall conduct basic, translational, and transformative research with a mission to provide the scientific evidence on which sound firearm violence prevention policies and programs can be based. Its research shall include, but not be limited to, the effectiveness of existing laws and policies intended to reduce firearm violence, including the criminal misuse of firearms, and efforts to promote the responsible ownership and use of firearms.

(3) The center shall work on a continuing basis with policymakers in the Legislature and state agencies to identify, implement, and evaluate innovative firearm violence prevention policies and programs.

(4) To help ensure a long-term and successful effort to understand and prevent firearm violence, the center shall recruit and provide specialized training opportunities for new researchers, including experienced investigators in related fields who are beginning work on firearm violence, young investigators who have completed their education, postdoctoral scholars, doctoral students, and undergraduates.

(5) As a supplement to its own research, the center may administer a small grant program for research on firearm violence. All research funds shall be awarded on the basis of scientific merit as determined by an open, competitive peer review process that assures objectivity, consistency, and high quality. All qualified investigators, regardless of institutional affiliation, shall have equal access and opportunity to compete for the funds.

(6) The peer review process for the selection of grants awarded under this program shall be modeled on the process used by the National Institutes of Health in its grantmaking process.

(b) It is further the intent of the Legislature that on or before December 31, 2017, and every five years thereafter, the University of California transmit programmatic, as well as financial, reports to the state, including a report on the grants made, pending grants, program accomplishments, and the future direction of the program. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(c) Subject to the conditions and requirements established elsewhere in statute, state agencies, including, but not limited to, the Department of Justice, the State Department of Public Health, the State Department of Health Care Services, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, and the Department of Motor Vehicles, shall provide to the center, upon proper request, the data necessary for the center to conduct its research.

(d) The center and all recipients of grants shall provide copies of their research publications to the Legislature and to agencies supplying data used in the conduct of that research as soon as is practicable following publication. These submissions shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(e) Toward these ends, the Legislature requests that the Regents of the University of California establish a Firearm Violence Research Center and administer the center and grant program pursuant to, and consistent with, the principles and goals stated herein.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 24, Sec. 30. (AB 1602) Effective June 27, 2016.)


Notwithstanding any other law, the Department of Justice shall make information relating to gun violence restraining orders that is maintained in the California Restraining and Protective Order System, or any similar database maintained by the department, available to researchers affiliated with the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center, or, at the department’s discretion, to any other nonprofit educational institution or public agency immediately concerned with the study and prevention of violence, for academic and policy research purposes, provided that any material identifying individuals is not transferred, revealed, or used for other than research or statistical activities and reports or publications derived therefrom shall not identify specific individuals.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 810, Sec. 1. (SB 536) Effective January 1, 2018.)


This chapter shall apply to the University of California only to the extent that the Regents of the University of California, by resolution, make any of these provisions applicable to the university.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 728, Sec. 2. (AB 521) Effective January 1, 2020.)

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