While Los Angeles’ economy is by all accounts healing, with nearly 65 percent of job loss recovered,
the recovery has been uneven leaving behind many low-income workers, people of color, and women. These
dynamics are compounded by the fact that every level of government is straining to maintain critical hospital,
fire, police, and sanitation services as well as the needs of schools, public transportation, road systems, and
other basic government services.
At a moment when every dollar counts, the human and economic toll of gun violence in the City of Los
Angeles is devastating. Nearly 1.17 million new firearms were registered in 2020 in California, with handgun
sales up 65.5 percent from the year before. The prevalence of guns, of course, brings an increase in gun
violence and suicides, and in 2021, Los Angeles had 397 homicides, up 11.8 percent from 355 killings the
previous year and up 53.9 percent from 258 in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. That number was the highest
figure since 2007 when the city recorded 395 homicides. The Los Angeles Police Department also reported
1,459 victims shot in 2021, a 542 percent increase over 2019, when 946 people were shot in the city.
Nationally, 75 percent of school shootings are carried out by kids who have access to unsecured or
unsupervised guns at home. Over 80 percent of teens who commit suicide with a gun used one that belonged to
someone in their home and every day 8 children are shot with an improperly stored or misused gun found in the
Our federal, state, and local governments are spending a combined average of $34.8 million each day to
deal with the aftermath of gun violence across the country. The total annual bill for US taxpayers, survivors,
families, employers, and communities, according to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, is $280
billion -including immediate costs starting at the time of an incident; subsequent costs such as treatment, long term physical and mental health care, forgone earnings, criminal justice costs; and cost estimates of quality-of life lost over a victim’s lifespan. In Los Angeles last year, according to Everytown, the total cost of gun
violence amounted to nearly $4.3 billion annually, over $480 million of which is borne by taxpayers.
While not every household has a gun, and while not all communities experience high levels of gun
violence, we all bear the economic burden of injuries and deaths caused by firearms. Insurance-based systems
can encourage firearm owners to take safety classes, ensure guns are safely stored, install trigger locks, or
utilize loaded chamber indicators. Just like auto insurers use risk-adjusted premiums to reward good driving and
encourage the use of airbags and other safety features, reducing per-mile auto fatalities by 80 percent over the
last four decades, we need a similar approach to address the risks posed by guns.
The San Jose City Council recently took preliminary action that would require gun owners to purchase
liability insurance through their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance as well as pay an annual fee that would go
toward evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm. The City of Los Angeles should follow
suit and explore the adoption of such an ordinance.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Attorney be requested to report back on the feasibility of
implementing an ordinance similar to that of the City of San Jose’s proposed ordinance that would require gun
owners in the City of Los Angeles to carry firearm liability insurance.