My name is Kayla Reines and I am a resident of California. I am a recent graduate of Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies and a minor in Sociology. I am writing you today as an advocate for stricter gun laws in California. My main concern is with our current gun laws in the state of California.
California is one of the strictest states when it comes to gun laws. I agree with the legislative choice to pass Bill 1100, banning anyone under age 21 from buying a long gun, or rifle. I think this is a great step for the future of California on the path of enforcing stricter gun laws. However, I think we can take this it one step further.
Research shows that the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. The adult and teenage brains function very differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex. This is the brain’s rational part. This allows adults to respond to situations with better judgement knowing the consequence. Teenagers think with the amygdala, the emotion part of our brain. This is why teenagers think with emotion rather than logic. I found a report collected by the FBI, stating that nearly 50 percent of all gun homicides are committed by people under the of 25.
The Charleston Church shooter was 21 years old. The Aurora movie theater shooter was 24 years old. The Parkland shooter was 19 years. We keep seeing patterns of young age in recent shootings. There are many more instances where teenagers or young adults have committed mass shootings. In the case of Parkland school shooting, the shooter was a teenager shooting fellow classmates. High school these days it rough. Kids are getting bullied and struggle with severe mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. I don’t think adolescents should have the privilege of buying guns at such a fragile time in their life. Guns in the hands of teenagers not only lead to more mass shootings, but also more suicide attempts. This is because teenagers don’t think rationally, they think with their emotion.
Japan has a population of over 126 million people. They also only had one mass shooting in 2017. Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire world, but look at the outcome. I think California can learn from Japan and adopt some of their gun laws. In Japan, the law states that when buying a gun you must attend an all day class on the use of guns and gun safety. You also have to have a mental health screening. During their background check, they interview friends and family as well. I really like this idea because jobs interview our friends and family to get a better sense of who we are. The same should apply when buying a gun.
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