Gun controls won't solve everything, but we must start there | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | PleasantonWeekly.com |

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By Monith Ilavarasan

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About this blog: My parents, brother, and I moved to Pleasanton when I was in the seventh grade. I then graduated from Amador Valley High School, went to college at UC Davis and started out a career in tech. After several years working in large co...  (More)

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Gun controls won't solve everything, but we must start there

Uploaded: Jun 1, 2022
When I saw the very first news alert about a possible shooting in Uvalde I scrolled right past it. I have started feeling desensitized to the news around shootings. Like a gnawing back pain, I came to accept that this was a daily part of my life in America. It's one shooting after another and sometimes they seem to blend in together. I don’t remember the names or faces of most victims.

Two days later I saw pictures of the children and adults that were murdered in that Texas elementary school on the front page of the news. I finally felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks, and the entire rest of the day went by in a haze. After my partner and I got home from work we talked into the night about how we felt. I’d like to say that I left the conversation feeling better, but I don’t think I did.

In 2018 after the Parkland shooting it really felt like the tide was turning on the issue of federal gun control. The Parkland community is an affluent community, and the students at the school took advantage of the resources at their disposal to organize marches nationwide as part of the “March for our Lives” campaign. My parents, partner, and I traveled to San Francisco and stood in a protest in front of the Civic Center. It was the first protest my parents had ever attended.

We listened to speaker after speaker articulate the need for nationwide gun control. Speakers from communities who had been riddled with gun violence, long before school shootings became so regular, spoke about the need to restrict the supply of these tools meant to kill. They spoke in frustration that their demands had not been met for decades, as it was only poor minorities who had been victims. Maybe now that wealthier communities were starting to feel this same violence there would be something done about it.

A Columbine survivor talked about how she had been unknowingly investing in gun companies as part of her 401k, and urged everybody to make sure that they pull any money they can out of weapon manufacturers hands. Dianne Fienstein, London Breed, and other California politicos came on to say a few words in support.

Thousands came with handmade signs and there was a real energy that something could be done. It felt like the tide was turning.

But nothing has been done at the national level yet. Without federal legislation, gun laws are relegated to those made at the state level. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. But within a day's car ride you can find yourself in Nevada, a place with some of the laxest gun laws in the nation.

The truth is, mass shootings do have factors at play other than easy accessibility to guns. Guns, especially automatic weapons, allow a person to kill other human beings with ungodly power and speed. But this doesn’t explain why so many are motivated to take these weapons in their hands to murder innocent people.

A toxic cocktail of the dissolution of communities, mass poverty, economic precarity, and lack of any mental health supports whatsoever have converged to push mentally ill individuals to express intense hate through outbursts of deadly violence. Guns amplify the shape and form of what this deadly violence looks like.

Easy access to guns without common sense background checks gives immense power to those who have come to have no value whatsoever for human life. Background checks for all gun sales are supported by nearly ninety percent of all Americans, including a huge percentage of conservatives.

Tackling the issues mentioned above is incredibly complicated and I’m not sure I have the faith that positive changes will happen soon at this stage in our country. While we begin to grapple with and understand those issues, common sense gun reform that the majority of Americans agree with seems within reach. When we scroll past mass shootings we lose a bit of ourselves, what makes us human. In my lifetime I hope I can see us as a country get in touch with our humanity and pass some gun reform at the national level.
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Comments

Posted by MichaelB, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 1, 2022 at 10:24 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"The truth is, mass shootings do have factors at play other than easy accessibility to guns. Guns, especially automatic weapons, allow a person to kill other human beings with ungodly power and speed. But this doesn't explain why so many are motivated to take these weapons in their hands to murder innocent people."



The truth is, "automatic weapons" (machine guns) are not available to the general public and have been severely restricted since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. You may only possess one if you have a federal license to do so, the licenses are difficult to obtain, most people do not have them, and none of the school shooters in Parkland or Uvalde did.Yet another example of why people do not trust those calling for/claiming to want "common sense" regulations on guns.

There are other factors at play with mass shootings. But what did we hear immediately after Parkland from "March for our Lives? It was conveniently the "fault" of guns/gun manufacturers/2nd Amendment supporters despite Nikolas Cruz' earlier threats of conducting a mass shooting that were not acted upon and numerous contacts with law enforcement with no arrests/charges filed.


Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 9:14 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

The Dems always jump to what they think is the easy answer to bolster their ratings come November- take away the guns from law abiding citizens and remove the 2nd amendment. Actually, the majority of Americans don't want that. We probably have 400 millions guns in this country, but the hammer, fist, and knives are the leading cause of homicide. Let's get ride of the cutlery, and license the use of hammers for those in the construction industry.

Silly, yes? But we circle around to the problem that Dems and Republicans don't want to talk about: the breakdown of the family- fatherless homes; the legalization of drugs- starting with marijuana (oh I'm sure it's a medicinal drug) and the legalization of fentanyl, meth, and cocaine through the position of designated ‘use' sites as we are seeing in California, Seattle, and New York. And lastly our schools. The government and their school teachers have drifted so far to the left we are suppose to nod to their demented views that math is racist, there are 100 genders, and ‘trans' is normal, and the right of a child 5 years old to chemically and surgically change their sex.

Finally, we see a trend that Law Enforcement knew of these demented souls through social media and calls from the public that something was wrong, but they never intervened.

These tired slogans of ‘guns of war' or ‘assault weapons' that are misused and undefined serve no purpose except to twist the shorts of the public. Get them upset, angry, and confused and perhaps they will vote Democrat.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 9:15 am

Tim is a registered user.

The plain fact is that 99.999% of people who buy a gun for "protection" do not need a gun for protection. That they do buy them is just them falling for the fear propaganda scam by the hysterical NRA and other gun nuts. And not one single person needs a semi-auto gun of any type.

The plain fact is that just having a gun in the house makes all the people in the house less safe - most guns in a house are used to injure or kill people in that house, either murder, accidents or suicides.

People who buy a gun for the first time are more likely to commit suicide within one year of buying that gun,

The experiment has been done. No other country has as high a gun death rate as the US. Because no other country has as many guns - not even close. More guns = more death. Just an undisputable fact.

The solution is to reduce the number and types of guns. nothing else will work nearly as well, or even well at all. That is proven by dozens of other countries already.


Posted by MichaelB, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 10:41 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"But nothing has been done at the national level yet. Without federal legislation, gun laws are relegated to those made at the state level. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. But within a day's car ride you can find yourself in Nevada, a place with some of the laxest gun laws in the nation."


The "lax gun laws" and "nothing has been done" reasoning ignores that gun ownership is a Constitutional right in this nation. Many states have their own version of "the right to bear arms" in their constitutions.

This means that the standards required to restrict rights of the citizens are going to be high, not casual. The burden is on gun control advocates to justify restricting ownership, not on people exercising rights being "allowed" to and/or having a "need" to do so. Telling people there are "too many guns", "you don't need them for deer hunting", "it's for the children", "gun violence is a public health problem", etc. is not persuasive. Gun ownership is a personal responsibility issue and someone needs to have done something and/or has something in their background that disqualifies them.

California is out of touch with the rest of the nation on firearms policy. So called "progressive" politicians the run the state ignore the 2nd Amendment, they unnecessarily burden law abiding residents with so called "prevention" measures that do not reduce crime/limit self defense, and they treat people who abuse firearms as victims.


Posted by Stephanie , a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 11:15 am

Stephanie is a registered user.

Tim,
Respectfully, I will chose how to defend my home, my family and myself. With the rise in crime and home break ins, I have never been more fearful. Criminals with no fear of repercussions, as our legal system has become soft, forces me to take my protection into my own hands. Quite literally plural....hands, as a long rifle is easier for me to aim more accurately than a handgun. Your resolution is make my female self defenseless rather than address the criminals who threaten me is sickening.

Frankly, you mentioned the actual problem in your statement,
“People who buy a gun for the first time are more likely to commit suicide within one year of buying that gun"
The focus needs to be on mental health, not one person is asking why ER's are holding 5150's for 72 hours because there is a lack of inpatient psychiatric facilities. Or that insurance companies and Medi-Cal patients can't get coverage for rehab, long term mental health care, and outpatient treatment is even harder to obtain. We have an epidemic of broken minds and a lack of treatment.


Posted by Joe V, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 11:18 am

Joe V is a registered user.

Most likely the one million residents of South Dakota aren't really concerned with gun control, not an important issue for them. For the 40 million residents of California, who are faced with the reality of gun deaths everyday, it is a very concerning situation. Both States have the exact same representation in the Senate, where nothing gets done to try to limit access to dangerous weapons.


Posted by Joe V, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 11:18 am

Joe V is a registered user.

Most likely the one million residents of South Dakota aren't really concerned with gun control, not an important issue for them. For the 40 million residents of California, who are faced with the reality of gun deaths everyday, it is a very concerning situation. Both States have the exact same representation in the Senate, where nothing gets done to try to limit access to dangerous weapons.


Posted by Hotslide, a resident of Oak Tree Acres,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 12:21 pm

Hotslide is a registered user.

Gun sales are through the roof, a local seller told me when a shipment comes in on a Friday, they do not know what arms are in it, but they are quickly snapped up. Not by mentally ill people, but law abiding citizens fearful of the current state of our society. There are plenty of gun laws on the books, but not enforced, and people are afraid their turn to be attacked could be next. If you are afraid you will start shooting at anything that goes bump in the night or have unstable people in your house, please don't buy a firearm. There is a significant reason for the 2nd amendment that is rarely mentioned. The Nazis gave the French 24 hours to turn in their firearms before invading. Anyone caught with one after 24 hours was executed. The way this country is drifting towards socialism, we can't let the disarming of the citizenry happen here. One more thing, contrary to what our dear leader says, a 9mm cartridge will not blow the lungs out of a human body. More fear mongering.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 1:34 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Having a gun in your home does make you less safe. And I'm not a Dem.


Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 4, 2022 at 9:23 am

Malcolm Hex is a registered user.

@Tim

Tim said the fact, I mean the plain fact, that 99.999% of people who by a gun for protection, do not need a gun for protection. And you know this how? More importantly, do you believe in the 2nd Amendment?








Posted by Henry Callan, a resident of another community,
on Jun 12, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Henry Callan is a registered user.

The police cannot be counted on.

Look at Uvalde where cowardly cops attired in SWAT costumes hesitated for 90 minutes while an active shooter gunned down innocent children.

Had the teachers and school administrators been fully armed, there might have been less collateral damage.

Guns are not evil per se...countless people are and some of them need to be taken out no questions asked.


Posted by Willow Hart, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 12, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Willow Hart is a registered user.

Keeping a firearm for home protection is reasonable depending upon where one lives.

Inner city ghettos, barrios, and rural areas, maybe.

But in cities like San Ramon and Danville?

What are these residents afraid of...squirrels and crows?


Posted by JJ, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 12, 2022 at 4:52 pm

JJ is a registered user.

California has had the most mass shootings.


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