Editorial #11 – Guns, Guns, Guns

Hello Gauchos!

It’s that time of the month again where I mount my soapbox to address the various issues that exist within this nation, and the various counterbalances associated with them.

As usual, I’m going to jump straight into yet another topic that is highly controversial within the United States: guns.

Guns have been a hot topic for discussion dating back quite a few decades. The first gun control legislation first appeared in 1934 as the National Firearms Act as a response from the FDR administration to Prohibition-era violence that had spilled over from the 1920s.

However, gun problems in the United States did not necessarily become a major matter of discussion until the horrific tragedy of the Columbine High School Shooting of 1999. Granted, there had been a few isolated incidents of gun violence in schools prior to Columbine, but this one is what really made its mark. This is what changed everything.

For those who aren’t aware, here’s the basic rundown: On April 20, 1999 (its 24 year anniversary just a few days ago, in fact), 12th grade students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold brought multiple automatic pistols, shotguns, rifles and explosives to their school and murdered 12 students and one teacher. They also injured 24 people via gunshot wound, exchanged gunfire with police, and then subsequently committed suicide. It was the single deadliest school shooting at the time; everyone was in a state of awe and shock.

Again, this shooting is what made gun control legislation, school safety procedures, and police tactics get a massive overhaul. It’s similar to how life was before and after 9/11. Prior to the incident, airplane cockpits were less secure, you could walk right up to the gate without even being a passenger, and the Department of Homeland Security didn’t even exist. After 9/11, there was a huge crackdown on who was permitted to enter secured airport areas, how airplanes were secured while in the sky, and what steps could be taken in the event that such a tragedy should ever happen again. On top of that, there was a general social movement of heightened awareness of one’s surroundings, such as the “if you see something, say something” program that is posted in many high volume areas such as airports and train stations.

It didn’t stop there. Columbine was just the beginning; in fact, the increase in gun violence following this incident was actually called “The Columbine Effect.” Countless other shootings occurred in the years to follow, more recently in rapid succession. There have been 15 mass shootings alone this year so far.

Columbine. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Aurora Theater. Boulder, CO. Sutherland Springs. Las Vegas. Virginia Tech. Uvalde. El Paso. Orlando Nightclub. Monterey Park. Covenant School. Louisville Bank. Who could have predicted that this almost completely random string of words would have been unified under one miserable precept: death.

Over the span of over 2 decades, the concept of mass shootings has snowballed into a massive public safety nightmare. One incident leads to media coverage of that incident which inspires three other people to go off and do the exact same thing — it is the hydra’s head of gun control.

And these only name a few. There have been countless others, and there are, tragically, bound to be countless more in the coming months. As progressive of a nation as we are, we still have a rough year ahead of us.

As a result of these shootings, there have been countless repeated calls from victims and supporters alike for stricter gun control legislation and restrictions, and greater access to mental health services.

In years prior, many of these acts have passed successfully, such as the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, however many of these eventually failed, with the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expiring in 2004 and the Gun-Free School Zones Act being struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Lopez (1995).

If the United States truly wanted to be rid of anything to do with firearms, then they would need to gain a majority of states who agree with such a statement and then amend the Constitution to abolish the 2nd amendment. However, even that would come with its own complications.

It is a sad truth because, given the current U.S. political climate and how unlikely it’s going to change in the next few years, this sort of thing is quite unlikely to happen. It would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate, or would require that two-thirds of all states (around 34 states) request the Constitution be amended.

And even if it did, there would be blowback, outcry, and blatant disregard for such supreme law. Remember the 18th amendment? The United States tried to ban alcohol within its borders outright in the 1920s — like a chronic smoker trying to quit cold turkey. And sure, some people did abide by this new amendment. But for the most part, a good portion of people just ignored it and pretended like it hadn’t really happened.

The same sort of response would likely result in repealing the 2nd amendment. Because here’s yet another sad and unfortunate truth:

Even with the strictest gun laws out there with the most stringent acquisition and certification requirements — even if the 2nd amendment were to be repealed and firearms banned outright — that would not solve the problem of gun violence. No matter how many barriers you erect, walls you build, electric fences you put up to keep people out, people who are determined enough and insane enough and driven enough will find a way around or through those barriers. And even if they can’t, they’ll look elsewhere.

Now, there is another side to this story. Many people in predominantly liberal states and areas are strong proponents of heavier, stricter gun legislation. California, being a primarily liberal state, means that a good portion of public opinion will be centered around that.

However, this can be problematic as it can lead to people experiencing “the echo chamber effect”, in which one’s own beliefs “…amplify or reinforce their preexisting beliefs by communication and repetition inside a closed system [that is] insulated from rebuttal.” (Wikipedia)

More conservative people argue that gun control is not only a violation of the 2nd amendment, but a detriment to public safety in and of itself. Gun control restrictions, while making it more difficult for people that definitely shouldn’t have guns, also can make it more difficult for people that can or should have guns. People who, for example, carry guns for self-defense or home defense or the defense of other people.

These kinds of people are often labeled as “good guys with guns” and they can be extremely helpful in dangerous situations with even more dangerous individuals. Take for example the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting which occurred on December 29, 2019 during which an armed attacker killed 2 church members before being fatally shot by an armed volunteer security guard and then being surrounded by a group of 6 other armed citizens.

Even though a crazed attacker was able to gain access to a firearm and actively tried to start a mass shooting, he was massively overpowered by those “good guys with guns.”

One unidentified Texan in a brief interview with ABC News corroborated this viewpoint, stating that “If a bad guy comes, there’s a lot of good guys here to protect me.”

In California, as stringent as the gun regulations are, there is legislation that is helpful to a gun owner. One of the prime examples of this is what is known as the Castle Doctrine. In this legislation spelled out in the California Penal Code, your home or property is your “castle” and you have the right to defend it, especially when you feel threatened or endangered. If an unknown individual forcibly and/or unlawfully gains entry to your property and you believe with good reason that they are about to inflict serious bodily harm upon you, then you are legally authorized to use deadly force against them.

Gun control has and always will be a rocky road. Much like any other political topic, not everyone will be happy at each point in the process. However, hopefully as time progresses, we as a society will learn to better understand each other’s viewpoints and build a better Earth for all.

If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns about a particular article, or you have a suggestion for one, please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment, write us a letter, or send us an email.


Seize the Day,




Owen Davis

Editor-in-Chief, 2022-2023