Vegas shooting again renews gun laws debate

Aaron Deans, Staff Writer

Spanish teacher Leticia Molina has a complicated relationship with guns.

When she was in college, Molina was held up at gunpoint in an attempted at the Coldwell Banker real estate company she was employed.

“I had been happily employed for nearly four years but the incident led me to quit my job,” she said.

Despite the traumatic incident, Molina has had a positive experience with gun ownership.

“I grew up in a rural area and my brothers and I would occasionally hunt,” Molina said. “We also did plenty of target practice. In fact, I still do.”

She added that her teenage son “absolutely looks forward to (target) practicing, too.”

However, in light of the tragedy in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and 546 injured Molina said she thinks gun control would’ve made mass shootings, such as that in Las Vegas, less deadly.  

“Could gun control laws have prevented the tragedy in Las Vegas or other mass shootings in recent history?” she said.  “I don’t believe so but I do not doubt that gun control would have reduced the number of victims.”

The mass shooting early this month in Las Vegas was the deadliest shooting massacre in U.S. history, and has revived yet again the debate over gun laws and whether they should be restricted, amended or both.

At the core of U.S. gun regulations is the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to own and use firearms.

Senior Matthew Le, a member of JROTC, agrees that Americans should be able to own and use guns.  

“I understand that the founding fathers gave us this right and respect it with utmost content,” he said.

The U.S. does have certain regulations to try to keep guns from getting into the hands of people who may not use them responsibly. In the U.S, certain people, such criminals convicted of violence or harassment and the mentally unstable, may not own a firearm, according to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. As recent events make clear, current gun control in the U.S. can’t fully prevent shootings and other gun-related incidents.

Sophomore Riley Peters said that his stance on gun control has grown stronger in response to recent mass shootings.

These mass shootings have not changed my outlooks on guns, but strengthened them,” he said. “As a country, we must find a way to regulate firearms that have the ability to do harm on a massive scale.”

The National Rifle Association plays a major role in gun control in the U.S. With around 5 million members, it is certainly powerful lobbying entity. The NRA often prevents new and more limiting gun control regulations from being passed.

Shooting-based crime could easily be considered to be getting more common. Social science teacher Tania Eaton thinks that shooting is in the news more than it used to be.

“I remember I was teaching, and then I stepped away from teaching for six years to raise my kids,” she said. “And when I came back to teaching… they said that we had to do code red barricades. I didn’t know what that was for, and I was shocked when I found out that it was to protect our kids from shooters.”

Eaton said she believes that inconsistency in gun regulations is one factor contributing to gun-related crime.

“We have states with different gun laws, and we don’t have consistent background and mental health checks,” she said. “It leads to more guns being in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them in their hands.”

Gun laws certainly vary widely from state to state. According to the NRA’s website, California requires a permit to purchase guns, and firearms must be registered. In contrast, Texas does not require a permit to purchase guns, and they don’t have to be registered.

Despite recent events and varying gun control regulations, students such as Peters feel safe on campus.

I believe the worry of school shooting taking place on our campus is unjustified,” he said. “As well as our compassionate students, we have a well equipped staff that is sure to diffuse a situation, if any were to happen.”

Freshman Anna Seitz also doesn’t feel the need to worry about a shooting.

“I really do feel safe on campus,” she said, “because I know that I can trust all of the teachers on campus to protect me if needed.”