Located within the Trauma Foundation of San Francisco General Hospital, the Pacific Center for Violence Prevention (PCVP) strives to reduce youth violence. The Trauma Foundation, headed by Andrew McGuire, has engaged in a number campaigns to improve the safety of citizens, including advocacy of fire-safe cigarettes, mandatory seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet statutes, an increase in the liquor tax, regulation of alcohol advertising to prohibit demeaning images of women, and health care for battered women.
The Trauma Foundation began in 1973 as the Burn Council, an organization devoted to preventing burn injuries to children. The Council advocated such measures as requiring flame resistant children's sleepwear. In 1979, the organization was expanded to deal with all injuries. Firearms were identified as one of the unsafe products for younger people that should be given attention. The Pacific Center, which has focused on gun control as one means of preventing violence especially among youth, is the policy headquarters of the Violence Prevention Initiative, a collaboration of community groups engaged cooperatively in local violence prevention. The Center offers various services to communities, including media and policy advocacy training and information resources.
The Pacific Center has established three major objectives. First, it supports a policy shift away from institutional confinement for youth who commit violent acts toward community-based crime prevention programs that regard youth as a resource to be developed. Second, the Center works to reduce the access youth have to alcohol and other drugs by increasing the excise tax on beer, limiting youth-oriented advertising of alcoholic products, and allowing local communities to regulate alcohol sales. Finally, the organization hopes to initiate policies to limit firearm possession among youth.
The Policy Center considers youth access to firearms, as well as firearms possession generally, a major contributor to high levels of violence in California and across the nation. The organization notes that in California, firearms have become the leading cause of death for those aged 1 to 19. In California, 80 percent of homicides involving youth are committed with firearms. Also of concern is the large number of nonfatal gun injuries. From June 1992 to May 1993, approximately 99,000 such injuries were reported nationally.
The Center has supported several proposals to keep firearms away from youth. It promotes a total ban on the sale and possession of Saturday night specials, or junk guns, which are still produced in the United States even though the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited foreign imports. Although this pro-