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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

International House holds event discussing local gun violence and hateful ideologies

Davis Phoenix Coalition, Moms Demand Action, Davis Police Department and the university organized the talk


By LA RISSA VASQUEZ city@theaggie.org


On Nov. 16, the International House, which has been a space for cultural learning for more than 40 years, hosted an event at which Dr. Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, educated the Davis community about gun violence and hateful ideologies. 

Gloria Partida, a  Davis City Council member and chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, organized the event with the UC Davis Director of Campus and Community Engagement Vickie Gomez. Partida spoke, opening the event.

“Our organization does a lot of work around diversity and inclusion, and we do a lot of awareness raising for vulnerable populations,” Partida said. “And vulnerable populations are often the targets of violence and so our mission is to prevent hate-motivated violence, [and] in promoting this event, to have this conversation before rather than after.”

Gomez said that Davis isn’t exempt from violence and hateful ideologies. 

“Understanding that because Davis is a college town that it’s not immune to extreme thinking [and] extreme views, and we are grateful that it hasn’t exploded into violence and gun violence,” Gomez said. “But I think it’s really critical for people to understand what that is and what that looks like.”

The Davis City Council took a step towards proactive gun safety this year by enacting the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance on Aug. 30. Davis Police Department (PD) Lieutenant John Evans spoke about the gun safety ordinance at the event and gave out gun locks, provided to the Davis PD by Project Child Safe.

“If there is a firearm of any type left unattended or stored in a home or a vehicle, it has to be locked up in a container, like a safe or a strong box of some sort, or it has to have a fire safety device on it like a gun lock or trigger lock with the idea being that the firearm cannot be accessed by a child or someone else who is not allowed access to firearms for some reason,” Evans said. “We have partnered with Moms Demand Action and we’ve been to several different community events to educate people about the ordinance, pass out gunlocks and basically promote firearm safety.” 

Evans encouraged people to visit the Davis City Police Department on Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to pick up free gun locks.

Davis PD organizes public awareness campaigns with Moms Demand Action, a national grassroots movement advocating for gun safety and reform at all legislative levels. Emily Ault, California state legislative co-lead for Moms Demand Action from the Yolo County Chapter, talked about the current unrest in the Davis community.

“As you probably know, we are not immune to extremism in Davis and Yolo County,” Ault said. “We have had members of Proud Boys show up to Davis [Board of Education] meetings and harass parents and students. We have had [Proud Boy] members show up at events on the UC Davis campus and cause havoc. There is nothing more deadly than hate armed with a gun.”

During his presentation, Dr. Wintemute described the deadly dynamic of hate equipped with firearms.

“Here is the research question we’re all set up to answer,” Wintemute said. “What happens when you take a society that is fearful of its future, mistrustful of its institutions, polarized, angry at itself and you throw a bunch of guns in the mix?”

Partida said that the Davis community can fight gun violence and extremism by staying involved. 

We can donate to programs that provide intervention and lobby for gun policies,” Partida said. “We can support youth and programs that target creating safe inclusive spaces. I hope people can see that the root of all violence starts in intolerance.”


Written By La Rissa Vasquez — city@theaggie.org