The front page story of our newspaper this week is about a local gun violence forum on Sunday, Feb. 3 where local representatives stood up and discussed their recent gun control proposals like AB-12 “symbolic of the 12 victims of the Borderline tragedy.” Although the fact that legislators like Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, are putting up gun control legislation is certainly news, we must take it with a grain of salt.
We all know that after any mass shooting, discussion of the need for gun control ramps up. Thousand Oaks is now in the unique place of being at the heart of this debate, and our representatives should certainly feel a call to listen to community members like Susan Orfanos, who spoke on Sunday. Orfanos’ son was killed in the Nov. 7 Borderline tragedy.
I know from talking to people who were at Borderline that night that we should keep the conversation going. However, we must ask ourselves if these proposed bills are actually productive, or simply a means to save face with the public and keep up votes come 2020.
Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, expressed in her speech that she is aware of the gridlock that Congress will face with any proposed legislation. But she says she believes it’s, “critically important for Democrats to demonstrate to the American people who are crying for action that we do have common-sense solutions.”
California is already a state with tight gun control and Thousand Oaks has been ranked amongst the safest cities in the nation. Our city has learned firsthand that these tragedies can happen anywhere, and the immense difficulty of forming measures in the U.S. that will actually stop these shootings.
In addition, all of the legislators and groups present at Sunday’s forum were on the left, showing the need to bring both sides into the conversation.
Our representatives should remain active in making their constituents’ voices heard, but should be wise in considering how they will work with fellow state legislators and members of congress. Throwing out random bill packages with vague policies is not a step toward lasting change.
Editor’s note: The gun violence forum date was corrected to Feb. 3 on Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.