Dr. Pan’s Bill Requiring California to Track Violent Deaths Signed by Governor

September 27, 2016

SACRAMENTO – A bill authored by Dr. Richard Pan and principle co-authored by Senator Bill Monning, which would allow California to partner at the federal level to help prevent violent deaths, including gun deaths, was signed by the Governor today.

SB 877 requires California to maintain a comprehensive data-tracking system on violent deaths in the state and to participate in the federal program to collect data, the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). SB 877 is sponsored by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.

 “Gun violence is a public health crisis that we do not have to accept and this new law will help researchers fully confront the crisis and save lives,” said Dr. Pan, a pediatrician and Senator representing the Sacramento region. “We can prevent violent deaths if we have the data to understand the root causes.”

"SB 877 represents a critical step forward in the state’s ability to gather information that will help inform the decisions made by public policymakers about how to better address gun violence,” Senator Monning said. “Gun violence has become a public health epidemic and I am pleased that the Governor has signed this bill, which will allow for the collection of data, while Congress continues to fail to act on this important issue.”

From 2005 to 2008, California participated in the (NVDRS) which requires county health departments to collect data on violent deaths from several data sources – death certificates, coroner/medical examiner records, police reports and secondary sources including crime lab records, toxicological reports, child fatality review team data, hospital data and supplementary homicide reports. SB 877 would require the California Department of Public Health to collect such data. 

Some current databases contain information from death certificates alone, which has information on the victim, but leaves out important data including the circumstances leading to the death, the perpetrator or other victims. Those databases are not able to characterize the perpetrators, including their relationship to the victims.

In addition to providing the data to the NVDRS, the data could be used to assist state policy makers and communities as they determine appropriate prevention and education efforts.


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