Attorney General Xavier Becerra — who’s infamous among conservatives for prosecuting pro-life journalists and litigating against the Little Sisters of the Poor — has earned disapproval from progressives for hiding California’s gun violence data, threatening journalists, and crushing investigations, the Bee reported in a commentary by its editorial page editors.
“Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is withholding gun violence data from a state-funded research institution tasked by lawmakers with evaluating California’s firearm regulations and also is directing universities to destroy records the agency previously released,” sister paper the Sacramento Bee reported last week.
Becerra’s unpopularity grew in 2017, a year after California State Legislature voted to create the UC Davis California Firearm Research Center, which would analyze the state’s gun control policies.
In 2016, then-Attorney General Kamala Harris supported the legislature’s decision to create the research center and said that the California Justice Department would comply with the bill’s request to provide “the data necessary for the center to conduct its research.”
When Becerra became Attorney General, he stopped sending the state’s gun violence data.
In response, the center’s director, Dr. Garen Wintemute, asked the state legislature to pass a law forcing Becerra to comply.
State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, introduced a law to “clarify and codify” the Attorney General’s responsibility under the law.
After the law’s passage, Becerra released information on red-flag laws, which allow the government to seize firearms from citizens without charging them with a crime.
But after giving this information, citing “privacy” concerns, he started blocking and redacting information again.
Becerra’s office then told Wintemute to cease his studies and delete all of the state’s data in his possession.
“The Legislature, not the attorney general, makes the laws. It’s Becerra’s job to uphold them,” the Fresno Bee reported. “Becerra’s latest attempt to violate the law comes as no surprise. His continued violations make him seem more like someone who should be prosecuted rather than someone who should be tasked with prosecuting others.”