Twenty-Three Years of Notable Gun Violence Prevention Speakers

The Coalition Against Gun Violence has been honored to bring to Santa Barbara for our annual event excellent speakers who have brought their expertise on a variety of issues all related to the problems of gun violence in America:


“#HonorWithAction: #SPEAKforSAFETY by Understanding Mental Illness was the theme for CAGV’s 23rd Anniversary Celebration, April 29, 2018, with featured speaker Amy Barnhorst, M.D., Psychiatrist, UC Davis Faculty. Dr. Barnhorst has written multiple papers on firearms, mental illness and the law, and presented nationally on these topics. She is a member of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy and the California Medical Society Firearm Violence Prevention Committee. She has testified as an expert before the California and Alaska Senates on Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO).


“RESIST! Protect California’s Smart Gun Laws. TAKE ACTION!was the theme for CAGV’s 22nd Anniversary Celebration, May 7, 2017, with featured speaker Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney and Co-Founder of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV) an independent non-partisan coalition devoted to prosecutorial and policy solutions to the public health and safety crisis of gun violence. A national leader in preventing gun violence, Mike Feuer has written some of America’s toughest laws to curb gun violence.


“Gun Violence: A Public Health Epidemic,was the theme for CAGV’s 21st Anniversary Celebration, May 15, 2016, with featured speaker Billie Weiss, an internationally renowned researcher, peace and public health advocate. Since 1990, Billie Weiss has pioneered public health research that has helped community-based organizations become more effective in preventing violence.


On this special day, May 17, 2015, CAGV’s 20th Anniversary Celebration we paid “Tribute to Outstanding Community Leaders In Gun Violence Prevention.We honored 18 outstanding individuals (see list here: who have led the way in gun violence prevention since CAGV’s inception in 1995. These honorees have made it possible for this unique grassroots community organization to achieve significant goals along the way while making our community a safer place to live.


“The Constitutional Case for Gun Control” CAGV’s 19th Anniversary Celebration with speaker Lawrence Rosenthal, JD, Constitutional Legal Expert and Chapman University School of Law Professor. Professor Rosenthal spoke about the limits of second amendment originalism and the constitutional case for gun control.


Regulating Guns in America: How Strong Gun Laws Can Make Our Communities Safer” was the focus of CAGV’s 18th Anniversary Celebration with speaker Juliet A Leftwich, Legal Director of The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, founded in 1993 by lawyers in the wake of the 101 California Street assault weapons massacre in downtown San Francisco. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence  (formerly Legal Community Against Violence) provides comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives. As a non-profit organization, the Law Center provides free legal assistance to governmental entities and gun violence prevention and allied organizations.


“Enlightening Our Community About The Causes, Risks And Consequences Of Gun Violence,” was the theme for CAGV’s 17th Anniversary Celebration with speakers  Amanda & Nick Wilcox, Legislation & Policy Chairs, California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Advocates of, “LAURA’S LAW.” They spoke about their tragic experience of losing their daughter, Laura Wilcox, in a rampage shooting by a seriously mentally ill person in 2001, and how they began committing their lives to working to reduce violence. They worked hard to advocate for Assembly bill 1421 — now known as LAURA’S LAW — which was signed into law by California Governor Gray Davis in 2002. Laura’s Law is a California state law allowing counties to pursue court-ordered outpatient treatment for people with serious mental illness.


“Virginia Tech, Tucson & Beyond” was the theme for CAGV’s 16th Anniversary Celebration with speaker Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor and Brady Campaign Assistant Director of Federal Legislation. Mr. Goddard spoke about his experience of going from gun violence victim to an outspoken advocate for greater gun control. Mr. Goddard also shared excerpts from his award winning documentary, “Living for 32” directed by Kevin Breslin and produced by the board of directors of the Brady Campaign.


“New Decade New Challenges” at CAGV’s 15th Anniversary Celebration our speaker was Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of two nonprofits—Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. Mr. Horwitz implemented an advocacy campaign that led to California’s microstamping law. He spoke about his book, “Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea” demonstrating how reasonable gun regulation is essential to the survival of democracy and liberty.


CAGV’s 14th Annual Luncheon highlighted this year’s theme – Youth Empowerment for Safety, the Y.E.S. Fair, held on the previous day. Key organizations and young people involved in the Y.E.S. Fair entertained and shared commentary about this exciting new venture.


“Bullets or Crayons” with Assemblymember Kevin de Leon (45th District of Los Angeles) whose bill AB 2062 seeks to combat the easy accessibility to handgun ammunition that fuels gun violence and criminal activity. Special Introductory Speaker, Michael Mehas, author of the novel, “Stolen Boy” the drama of Jesse James Hollywood about a 15-year old boy who was murdered in Santa Barbara. Hollywood and his friends are currently serving prison time for this offense.


“For Whom the Bell Tolls” featured Mary Leigh and Charles Blek, founding members of the Bell Campaign which was the fiscal sponsor of the Million Mom March held in Washington DC on Mother’s Day 2000. The group merged with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2001 with Charles as the initial president of the California Brady Chapters. Mary Leigh has addressed the United Nations on two occasions regarding the regulation, sale and transfer of global arms.


Jackson Katz, founder and director of MVP Strategies, an organization that provides gender violence prevention training and materials to U.S. colleges, high schools, law enforcement agencies, U.S. military services, community organizations and businesses. Author of the award-winning video, “Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity “ and “The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help” a book published in April of 2006.


Assemblymember Paul Koretz represents the 42nd District and includes many well-known areas of Los Angeles. A major leader in the gun control movement and author of AB 50, which bans the sale of .50 caliber rifles in California and was recently signed into law.


Andres Soto,Policy Director CA Trauma Foundation and Pacific Center for Violence Prevention and California state gun control lobbyist, assisted localities in passing local ordinances to ban residential gun dealers, Junk Guns and gun shows.


Tom Diaz, Senior Policy Analyst at the Violence Policy Center Author, journalist, expert on terrorism, assault weapons, sniper rifles and a former NRA member.


Philip Alpers, editor of Gun Policy News and Founding member of (IANSA) International Action Network on Small Arms, speaks on domestic gun regulations at the United Nations and other international forums.


Andrew McGuire, heads the CA Trauma Foundation, and was Executive Director of the Million Mom March, and Mary Leigh Blek, President of the Million Mom March.


Assemblymember Jack Scott from the 44th District representing 10 communities around Pasadena, has been a champion of sensible gun legislation and authored many important bills.


Dr. Ed Donnerstein, Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at UC Santa Barbara and director of a four-university study, $3.3 billion dollar, 3-year study on violence in the media; shared his data on how children are affected by television and games.


Patricia Saber, M.D., Co-founder Physicians for a Violent Free Society, focused on domestic violence as a public health issue and the issues of dealing with gun violence as an emergency room physician.


Los Gatos Police Chief Larry Todd hid 6 to 8 firearms of all sizes on his body to demonstrate the ease of concealing a weapon.


Robert E. McAfee, M.D., President of the A.M.A., inspired our newly formed group focusing on gun violence as a healthcare crisis.