June Is National Gun Violence Awareness Month

June Is National Gun Violence Awareness Month
A demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington D.C. area, in the wake of the February 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo by Lorie Shaull via Flickr Creative Commons

Fresno resident Yvonne Calvillo lost her 14-year-old daughter, Breanna Gomez, to gun homicide on Jan. 3, 2021. In 2022, she worked with Fresno City Council Member Miguel Arias to have Fresno proclaim June 2022 as National Gun Violence Awareness Month for the City of Fresno. The proclamation was signed by Mayor Jerry Dyer and Council Members Nelson Esparza, Tyler Maxwell, Arias, Esmeralda Soria and Mike Karbassi.

This year June 7, 2024, is the 10th National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  The Mayor’s Office will proclaim June 2024 as National Gun Violence Awareness Month. The City of Fresno will also have the Fresno Water Tower lights orange for the weekend of June 7–9, which is the Wear Orange Weekend to call an end to gun violence.

EGV/BGF hopes that having the City of Fresno call attention to these activities will help raise public awareness about gun violence and the need to educate our communities on all that can be done to prevent further gun-related deaths.

EGV/BGF is the local chapter of Brady United. Brady United is a national organization that for 50 years (under different names) has worked at the local, state and federal levels to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation.

As a Brady chapter, EGV/BGF uses scientific data to oppose all forms of gun violence and to support evidence-based measures that have been proven to decrease gun violence (e.g., community violence intervention/interrupter programs, extreme risk laws, safe storage laws, universal background checks on all firearm sales).

California has shown the nation that states with strong gun laws have fewer gun deaths.1,2 Since the late 1980s, through gun safety legislation, California has brought the gun death rate down from one of the highest in the country to one of the lowest.3 

In 1992, California had 17.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people. The rest of the country had 14.7 gun deaths per 100,000.4 Data for 2022 show that California’s age-adjusted per capita gun death rate of 8.7 per 100,000 was almost half the rate for the rest of the country (15.2 per 100,000), and the seventh lowest of all 50 states.

Overall Firearm-Related Mortality Rates 1990–2022. See #4 below.

Since 2020, every day 200–300 people in the United States are directly impacted by gun violence: suffering gun-related injuries or gun deaths due to suicide, homicide or unintentional shootings. “Gun Violence Awareness Month was created to draw attention to this tragic reality and demand life-saving change.”6

The first annual Gun Violence Awareness Day took place on June 2, 2015, on what would have been the 18th birthday of Hadiya Pendleton.8.9,10 She was a 15-year-old honor student who had just returned from performing at Obama’s second inauguration.

Pendleton was mistakenly shot and killed on Jan. 29, 2013, as a result of a gang rivalry. She and her friends were under a playground pavilion trying to get out of the rain in Harsh Park, a mile from President Obama’s Chicago home in the Kenwood neighborhood.

In 2015, Pendleton’s friends organized a commemoration to honor her life and the 100 lives a day that are cut short every year by gun deaths from suicide and homicide. In addition, they wanted to bring attention to those wounded by gun violence and raise awareness of the toll gun violence is taking on Americans.

They decided to wear the color hunter’s orange (also called safety orange and blaze orange) to commemorate her life as a symbol. Hunters wear that color in the woods to protect themselves and others from gunfire. Pendleton’s friends chose that color to bring attention to the need to protect themselves and others from gun violence.

Since 2015, as a call for the end to gun violence, the first Friday in June has been designated National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the first weekend has been designated Wear Orange Weekend and June has been designated National Gun Violence Awareness Month.

EGV/BGF is disappointed that the Fresno City Council has not gone on record to further oppose gun violence but will continue its work to educate the public on what can be done to decrease gun violence in the city, the state and the nation.


  1. https://oag.ca.gov/ogvp/data
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/20/us/everytown-weak-gun-laws-high-gun-deaths-study/index.html#:~:text=  
  3. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2023/08/29/fact-sheet-new-findings-continue-to-show-californias-gun-safety-laws-work/
  4. https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/media/OGVP-Data-Report-2022.pdf
  5. https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ 
  6. https://www.bradyunited.org/resources/campaigns-toolkits/wear-orange#:~:text
  7. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/04/26/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/#:~:text=
  8. https://abc7chicago.com/hadiya-pendleton-shooting-chicago-gun-violence-kenwood/12749117/
  9. https://people.com/crime/what-the-wear-orange-campaign-is/
  10. https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/02/us/feat-wearing-orange-gun-violence/index.html


  • Jim Mendez

    Jim Mendez came to Fresno in 1977 for his medical residency training at what was then called the Valley Medical Center. He stayed to practice medicine and raise a family. He is now a retired physician and a community activist.

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