Mt. SAC students weigh in on gun violence

Students have mixed attitudes about gun violence and how to prevent it


Rally to prevent gun violence. Via Maryland GovPics/Flickr.

On Monday, a shooter killed three children and three adults at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden visited Monterey Park, California, a city where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting in January, to emphasize the danger of gun violence.

Mt. SAC students weighed in on the topic of gun control.

“I do think gun violence is a serious problem,” said a 19-year-old communication student, Rafael Valdez. “We should value life and try not to take away from it or harm it in any way.”

According to non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive, 10,097 people in the U.S. have been killed in gun-related incidents this year.

The country’s two main political parties hold different views on how to solve the problem of gun violence.

Many Democrats advocate strict gun control. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Twitter that the Second Amendment is “becoming a suicide pact.”

On the flip side, many Republicans believe owning guns helps keep them safe. Last year, legislators in Texas passed a bill rescinding the need for a permit to own handguns.

“I don’t agree with the banning in California,” Valdez continued. “I believe it’s right. I mean, I believe that responsible gun owners should own weapons.”

Kyra De Guzman, 18, a pre-nursing student, also opposes the comprehensive banning of guns.

“A lot of gang members can possess it illegally,” she said. “And that’s something we should look into and our officers on how to look for ways where they’re looking towards obtaining the weapons. Rather than just banning it overall because it has been a contributor to also helping us stay safe.”

Some students hope the government will improve current gun laws.

“Not just background checks,” John Mosqueda, 21, computer science student, said. “I feel like we do need to ban owning some type of guns like fully rapid-fire guns.”

25-year-old business student Michelle Mora sought a middle ground.

“Maybe hold a seminar to teach people who are going to own a gun how to take care of it,” Mora said. “How to keep it out of reach, so it won’t hurt people who aren’t used to it.”

Mosqueda said that although the Monterey Park shooting was distressing, owning a gun is scary to him, so he prefers not to own one.

“I’m used to not having one in general and it’s pretty scary to own one,” Mosqueda said. “Just in case if it gets misused or anything.”

Some students rely on other forms of protection when situations become dangerous.

“I do carry pepper spray,” Mora said. Although she experienced a break in a few years ago, she currently has no desire of ​​buying a gun.

“I’ve been taught that when you’re in danger or when someone’s bringing danger, if you can, you kick them where it hurts and run,” she said. “Don’t stay in the fight, just run.”

Other students disagree and would prefer to buy a gun to protect themselves under the law.

“I think owning a gun is more common with homeowners,” Valdez said. “So maybe once I do have my own home, then I’ll definitely have a firearm for protection.”

Guzman said that she isn’t opposed to owning a gun for safety.

“Especially because I am a female,” she said. “I’m not saying that females that go by themselves out in the world aren’t capable, I just feel like having that reassurance to protect myself.”

Gun-owning policies differ with each state. According to the Office of the Attorney General, California has the toughest gun laws in the U.S. Gun buyers must be legal residents or citizens, a rifle or shotgun buyer must be at least 18 years old and a pistol buyer must be at least 21 years old.

Besides the age requirements, people must also complete a firearm safety certificate and do a background check.