Successful public policy change in California: firearms and youth resources

J Public Health Policy. 2005 Jul;26(2):206-26. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200022.


The California Wellness Foundation's Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) was a 70 million dollars, 10-year effort to reduce violence among California youth. The Policy and Public Education Program of the initiative advanced two broad policy goals: (1) limiting the availability of handguns to youth, (2) increasing the state's investment in youth resources. Roughly 110 communities passed more than 300 ordinances to limit gun availability or promote gun safety. In addition, California legislators passed 24 statewide gun laws. Funding for youth programs increased to more that 368 million dollars in 2002-03, from about 100 million dollars in 1996-97. Using a framework adapted from the social movements and political communications literature the importance of four key elements was apparent in the VPI: articulating clear policy goals, strategic issue framing, capitalizing on political opportunity, and effectively mobilizing resources. The impact of new gun policies, increased funding for youth programs, and a diverse network of policy professionals and issue advocates interested in social change to decrease violence remain to be fully understood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California
  • Child
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Firearms / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Policy*
  • Violence / prevention & control*