California legislation does not do enough to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands

I will never forget the day that such a small object had so much control over my life.

My friends and I were heading back to campus from Broad Street and Capitol Avenue in Ingleside around midnight. As a 17-year-old student, it was my first year living in the Bay Area.

A young man approached us, reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun. He asked each one of us for our phones and belongings. I couldn’t believe what was going on. Every single laugh, smile and memory from the past flashed before my eyes. He got what he needed and ran off into the shadows of the Ingleside district.

Gun accessibility should be more strict to prevent events like this from happening, especially within the SF State community, where four student have died from gun violence from 2013 to 2014.

It began with the shooting of Justin Valdez in Fall 2013. Within the next year SF State students Stephen Guillermo, Mark Madden and Cecilia Lam were all shot and killed in succession. Though the events are unrelated, the trend has me convinced that guns are falling into the wrong hands — and this needs to be stopped.

One person is killed by a firearm every 17 minutes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012 alone, there were seven mass shootings in the United States, including the Sandy Hook massacre and Aurora theater shootings, some of the most infamous of our generation, according to Mother Jones.

In mass shootings that occurred between the years of 1982 and 2012, 49 percent of killers used weapons that had been acquired legally. Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter of Sandy Hook, took his mother’s gun, shot her in the face, then went on to commit one of the biggest massacres the United States has ever seen. In the Santa Barbara college community of Isla Vista, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger purchased several guns and went on a rampage, killing seven, including himself.

According to the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, all firearms must be purchased through a licensed dealer. It also states that a civilian may not carry a loaded firearm in a public or incorporated area, but no permit or license is needed for an individual to have a gun inside their home or business. California’s gun laws are some of the strictest in the country, but gun violence is still rampant.

According to the NRA-ILA, “ILA is committed to preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes.” The guidelines they use to constitute a law-abiding citizen should be more defined. The current laws are not stopping guns from falling into the hands of criminals.

In inspections conducted between 2008 and 2011 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 62,000 firearms were found missing from licensee’s inventories, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The debate over gun control and accessibility is an ongoing battle that cannot be solved overnight. It is much easier said than done, but we need gun laws to be more strict everywhere and we need government support now more than ever.