Allow gun safety course

Guns are dangerous in the hands of people who do not possess the knowledge of how to properly use or store them and there needs to be a gun safety class at Pierce College to minimize the risks of guns in our homes and community. If you are an owner of a gun in your home, you could look into something like a gun cabinet, to keep your firearm safe and for weapon storage.

Regardless of your views on guns, the reality is that guns are commonplace in American homes and you have been in the close vicinity to them whether you own one or not. In 2015 California received over 1.5 million applications to purchase guns which is the most in our state’s history. The application requires a background check and 10 day waiting period. There is zero requirement to know how to safely operate, clean or store your gun.

Pierce College is a logical place to provide a non-credit Saturday class on gun safety to the residents of our community. There is no need for there to ever be a loaded gun in the classroom or for a shot to ever be fired on campus. Actually, such a class existed from 2008 to 2013 without a single incident. The class had a waiting list and was 75 percent women, according to the instructor in a Daily News article.

In 2013, 505 people were killed by accidental shootings in the United States and from 2007 to 2011, an average of 62 children younger than 14 years old suffered fatal gunshot wounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Washington Post reported that in 2015 at least 265 people were shot by children. The most common age of the shooter was 3 years old. A majority of these tragedies are easily preventable by simply possessing the knowledge on how to properly store your gun.

When the board of trustees banned all guns on LACCD campuses, including non-operational ones, for people other than law enforcement, an exception was made for the Theater Department but not for the instructor of the gun safety class.

This was a political move from the anti-gun crowd under the guise of making the Pierce campus safer. In reality it makes our community more dangerous. In a Daily News article, LACCD trustee Scott Svonkin said “By preventing guns on campus, I wanted to prevent people who took the class from shooting a horse or cow on campus.” This is an irrational at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst. First, the students did not even bring guns to campus. Second, the instructor had possession of an unloaded gun for demonstrative purposes. Lastly, it was taught inside of a classroom and all shooting was done at a range off campus.

This is an important class that should return to Pierce. This is an educational institution and as long as people are allowed to possess guns, gun safety will remain a necessary area of instruction in order to reduce and prevent accidents involving guns.The issue is not whether there should be gun control or who should own a gun, that is a separate conversation. People do own guns and we should not politicize it and should view it rationally. Promoting responsible gun ownership makes a whole lot of sense.