Put Down Your Gun.

Daddy’s girl

This Halloween marks 2 years since my dad’s tragedy, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. Our biggest pain often becomes our biggest cause, and the issues of gun violence became mine.

Before when I used to hear about shootings, it sounded like a very far fetched reality­–only something that happens in ‘bad neighborhoods’ or in rare, freak accidents. But the fact is, it happens everywhere­–in suburbs, ‘good’ neighborhoods, campuses, and even more recently, on kids’ playgrounds.

Ever since it spilled over to my own family, I have a visceral reaction to gun violence–my blood boils and I am incredulous why people are so insistent on carrying guns. I’m trying to wrap my head around to understand those who support guns, and I have trouble doing so. I want to say to them:

Don’t recite the 2nd Amendment. We’re not cowboys anymore. This is 2016. I’m not keen on the government having control or censorship over our lives. But unfortunately, we live in a society that don’t and won’t share the same limitations with the given freedom­–so we have to work with that. We’re not at war, we’re not fighting for survival. Majority of us want to live our lives peacefully without having to worry about guns pointed in our faces.

Don’t tell me it’s for your protection. I was recently very bothered to see a new father proudly posting a picture of a gun on his Instagram. Is it for show? Did he watch too many reruns of the Terminator when he was growing up? So what if a random friend of a friend sees and knows he has a gun for stealing? What if the account is public? “It’s not loaded,” you say? “It’s locked up,” you say?? So if someone holds you at gunpoint, are you going ninja kick his arm and somersault to your locked up bullet-proof case and unlock it? Are you then going to go search for your bullets, locked up in another case? Are you going to say, ‘hold up, wait a minute, let me put this bullet in this gun so I can shoot you, you BAD GUY!!!” ? What if you’re not even home? What if you’re at a park? Or in a car? Or on campus? Or in a mall? What if everybody was armed and started killing each other for their own self-righteous reasons? Do you really think a blood bath is the answer? According to the Atlantic, guns are used to commit crime 10x more than used for self-defense.

Don’t tell me that only people with background checks get a license.

When I hear Trump talk about taking guns away from “bad” people, I am incredulous. Who determines who’s “good” enough to obtain a gun license? The murderer who shot my dad didn’t have any criminal records prior to his shooting spree that day. He wasn’t mental or part of a gang either. The reality is, if you want to buy it from a private seller, there is NO BACKGROUND check required. Best said by Kelli Anderson, who collaborated with Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), “For buying a gun, there are two legal options. Option one is to buy a gun from a dealer. In that case the buyer must pass a background check to ensure that they aren’t a prohibited purchaser. However in most states, there is a perfectly legal second option: Buying a gun from a private seller. In this scenario the background check isn’t required, and data shows that this is the “loophole” by which the majority of criminals get their guns. So while you need things like an ID and a license to buy a car, but, incredibly, nothing is needed to legally buy a gun from a private seller.

illustrated by: Kelli Anderson

This loophole is a like letting people step around security screening at the airport:”

illustrated by Kelli Anderson

If knowing that guns are easier to buy and obtain than Sudafed, that’s absolutely disturbing.

Don’t tell me it’s for the sport of killing animals. Go play duck hunt. The concept of making it a SPORT out of killing a living, breathing, innocent animal is sickening. Go exercise, lift weights, meditate, pray, build a business…don’t KILL living creatures just for your pleasure.

Take their PICTURE, not their LIVES!!!! Photo by: Jane Chung

Don’t think that it won’t ever happen to you. In December of 2000, I was working at my dad’s store when a drive-by happened right next door. It was a terrifying experience that left me shaking under my dad’s store counter. A few weeks prior to my dad’s shooting, my parent’s friends who owned a store also had a gun shooting. My mom’s friend was shot in the arm, her husband was fatally shot, and a worker was shot in the stomach but survived. It‘s not just in Salinas, but in places you would never think–like on UCLA campus this year. My friend was working on campus and never in her wildest dream did she think she had to lock herself in a classroom from being shot that morning. We all know about the Orlando nightclub shooting this past June to the politically charged shootings in North Carolina to the 6-year-old boy who was fatally shot in the playground by another boy. CNN recently created an interactive map that shows how each day conjures up the number of gun violence going on in the US. Unfortunately this is really happening: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/12/us/cnn-guns-project/24-hours.html

Do you have kids? Educate them early.

In my dad’s store, he refused to sell toy guns in his store despite the requests, as he said to me, “Allowing kids to play with guns early on can lead to bad habits.” He did everything in his means to put away the idea that gun was a regular household item. If you tell a kid that the stove is hot, some will touch it to see if it is. Most people don’t know that my dad actually was held up at his store on numerous occasions. Twice was with a toy gun. Set an example for a better future.

And lastly, vote.

As we near the date of voting, we have a lot of props to think about. For those against guns, thank you. For those advocating for guns, please consider how it affects the communities you live in. You may have grown up with guns around the house, or you may think it’s an elegant hobby sport with your foxes and hounds. But is it worth holding on to if it causes senseless violence on a national level? It’s a ripple effect where the victim’s families and friends have to live with pain for the rest of their lives. And beyond that, it affects the neighborhoods and deteriorates the safety in which incidents have occurred.

People who’ve never been an victim of gun violence would only rally and parade for laws to protect their rights. But believe me, if you’re on the other side of that statistic–you’d do everything in your power to get everyone to put down their guns.