The Association of California Cities– Orange County (ACC- OC)— a collaboration of Orange County cities, other governmental agencies and private industry — is pleased to partner with UnitedOnGuns and The Center for Homeland Security and Defense to present an in-depth discussion on mass shooting preparedness for city leaders. This timely discussion will take place at the ACC-OC Annual Leadership Conference, September 30, 2022. The panel is composed of city leaders who have responded to a mass shooting and will share their invaluable insights: Sheriff Don Barnes, Laguna Woods Mayor Carol Moore, Seal Beach Chief of Police Philip Gonshak, and Heather Fagan, Chief of Staff to Orlando, Florida Mayor Buddy Dyer.

In addition, Sarah Peck, Director of UnitedOnGuns, a non-partisan public health initiative of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University, will deliver remarks via video about her research of six cities that responded to a mass shooting. Peck, who was recently featured in NPR and Bloomberg News, explains that her initiative strives to help city leaders navigate the immediate needs and long-term effects of a mass shooting by providing training and resources. These resources include a protocol for the first 24 hours of the response and a comprehensive resource manual that city leaders can use to navigate a mass shooting or other mass casualty event.

“While the City of Orlando senior leadership held regular emergency response tabletop exercises, when we experienced the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, we learned our trainings did not anticipate the long-lasting impact on our community and the ways it would shape the priorities of Orlando’s city government,” says Heather Fagan, Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Chief of Staff. “I’m hopeful our experience in Orlando can help our colleagues across the country prepare.”

“I cannot think of a more timely or beneficial conversation to have,” said ACC-OC President Janine Heft, Mayor Pro Tem of Laguna Hills. “City leaders must strive to be prepared to do their best for their cities, especially during times of crisis. I am proud to be a part of ACC-OC who looks to provide education through collaboration for the benefit of our region.”

The ACC-OC Annual Leadership Conference will also include presentations on other important topics to city leaders including Homelessness, Housing & Local Control, and Leadership Development Strategies in partnership with the Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Leadership Director, Dr. Jay Barbuto and Leadership Coach, Scharrell Jackson. The Conference will also include a keynote speech from (ret.) U.S. Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez on “The O.C. – A Look Back and a Glimpse of the Future.”

Orange County leaders are encouraged to attend the Conference by registering for the event. For more information, email ACC-OC at