SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Everytown Research says, on average, 236 children and teens die by guns every year in California.
In 2020, Sacramento and Stockton saw an increase in gun homicides against children and teens.
It’s been over two years since Kelly Clark lost his wife Amber Clark, a librarian shot and killed in the Natomas Library parking lot in 2018.
Now, Clark is working with a group of mothers who are pushing legislatures to make a difference in the new year.
“There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her, that I don’t miss her, that I don’t lament the awful, awful thing that happened to her,” Clark said.
Clark has now turned his grief into action by working alongside Moms Demand Action, a volunteer group dedicated to national gun reform.
The group noticed an alarming trend last year, more and more children losing their lives to gun violence.
In December, brothers 17-year-old Sa’Quan Reed-James and 19-year-old Dewayne James Jr died after they were shot in front of Arden Fair Mall.
In Stockton, a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot in a Burger King drive-thru.
“The only word I have for it is absolutely heartbreaking,” Rosemary Yoshikawa said.
Yoshikawa said funding is needed to curb the violence.
“We successfully secured $30 million for a state grant that funds groups like the ones in Sacramento who are doing the on-the-ground work to disrupt gun violence and work with youth,” she explained.
But, Cal Violence Intervention and Prevention grant money decreased this year to $9 million.
“It’s just unfortunate that the lack of funding has had a correlation, or the apparent correlation, to the rise in youth homicide,” Clark said.
In Stockton, the number of youth homicides by gun is climbing year-by-year, with nine total in 2020.
In Sacramento, after two straight years of no deaths, there were four deaths within city limits since 2018.
Clark and Moms Demand Action are making their new goal more funding for local groups.
“Fund the groups in Sacramento and local groups across the state who are doing the hard work because we know it’s effective,” Yoshikawa said.
JJ Clavo was just 17 years old and a Grant High School football player when he was killed in a shooting close near his school.
After his death, JJ’s mom turned her personal tragedy into a mission to help others by starting the Healing 5 Foundation.
Mae and Pedro spoke to Dr. Nicole Clavo about the foundation.