LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Jose Sanchez’s third period American Government class is on a mission.
Last Monday, students from his class introduced a gun control resolution to the Alhambra City Council. The following day, they presented the resolution to the Alhambra Unified School District’s Board of Education. This Friday, they will present the resolution to Rep. Judy Chu. Ultimately, the students hope to get a meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown through the California Teachers Association.
“We want to take it first to the state government to gain the support of the state of California, and as a state we’ll take on the federal government to pass those laws nationwide,” said Eduardo Flores, one of the students who worked on the resolution.
The resolution calls for many gun control measures that Sanchez’s class came across in their research. This includes banning individuals with criminal records from purchasing guns; requiring background checks for all gun buyers; banning military-grade weapons, including assault rifles; requiring gun safety classes with the purchase of firearms; closing loopholes at gun shows and requiring people to be at least 25 years old to purchase a gun.
Raising the age limit was Briana Garay’s idea. She came across research showing that a person’s brain wasn’t fully developed until 25. “If your brain isn’t fully developed, you shouldn’t be able to pull a trigger that could kill 10 people in 10 seconds,” she said.
Sanchez’s students were motivated by the Parkland, Fla. shooting on Feb. 14, which prompted walkouts from schools across the nation in protest of gun violence in the classroom. CNN counted 288 school shootings in the United States since 2009. On May 18, a student opened fire at a Texas school, killing 10 people and making this mission even more urgent.
It’s unclear at this stage whether the City Council or the school board will adopt the students’ resolution. Vice President Robert L. Gin mentioned that the school board already approved their own resolution after Parkland, calling for reform at the federal level.
The students are aware that the measures they’ve proposed are controversial. “We’ve already gotten a lot of backlash with some of things that we want,” Garay said. “We might have to revise it — I think that’s something we’re open to — but we’re not going to stop until we make a change.”
Flores added that this resolution wasn’t about repealing the 2nd Amendment, but making it fit for modern times. “When our founding forefathers wrote the 2nd Amendment, that was during an era where we needed to assemble militia and fight against invaders, but we don’t live in a society and an era where we need that,” he said. “We have brave men and women who are protecting us and doing that for us, so we need to adapt to make our society safer.”
Read the full resolution below.