Join the debate

Students carry the discussion on gun violence forward in the absence of a congressional action

There’s a pattern in this country that needs to end. Every three or four months, some deranged man walks into a concert, a nightclub or a school and starts shooting people with an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. We’ve seen these incidents around the nation—and close to home last fall, when five people were killed in Rancho Tehama. Between each of these incidents are smaller ones during which one or two people are killed.

Meanwhile, the official responses from our nation’s capital involve “thoughts and prayers” followed by a “debate,” which in this case is a euphemism for “Congressional Republicans ignore the obvious solutions so they can continue to accept big campaign donations from gun lobbyists.”

So, what are the obvious solutions? There are plenty, including easier access to mental health care services. However, above all is sensible reform of the gun laws in this country.

Weapons like the AR-15 used in Parkland aren’t like a rifle you might use to kill vermin out on the farm. They’re not even like a handgun or shotgun you might use to chase a burglar out of your house. They are tools meant to kill many people quickly. There is absolutely no reason that an emotionally disturbed teenager should be able to buy one, as was the case in Florida two months ago.

Gun regulation could work like automobile regulation—licensing, with written and practical exams, ownership registration, basic health requirements, annual renewals, and so forth. This is a sensible solution, and according to recent polls conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, something favored by a majority of Americans.

What can we do on a local level? For starters, citizens can support the youth who are calling attention to the subject. At noon this Saturday, April 7, at the El Rey Theatre, a group composed of students from Chico High, Inspire School of Arts & Sciences and Chico State are holding a panel discussion on gun violence. They’ve invited Rep. Doug LaMalfa to speak, but are prepared with experts in the event he’s a no-show. To learn more about the event, search for “Town Hall for Our Lives Chico” on, where you can make a donation, or on Facebook.