By Elana Baldwin
San Bernardino Shootings: The Facts
On December 2nd, 2015, a deadly attack took place at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, leaving 14 dead and 21 wounded. This is the deadliest mass shooting to take place in the US since the Sandy Hook School Shooting in 2012, and it is the 6th deadliest shooting in US history.
The perpetrators have been identified as Chicago-born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani-born wife Tashfeen Malik. They were married in Saudi Arabia in 2014, and they moved into the US together later in 2014. Malik passed multiple background checks and was issued a green card in July 2015. Both Farook and Malik were killed in a police shootout following the attacks.
Farook and Malik claimed to support ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), an Islamic Extremist Militant group forcefully taking over Iraq and Syria with a violent hand, but it has yet to be found if they had any actual terrorist connections. Weapon stockpiles and evidence of planning was found in Farook and Malik’s home, indicating that they had not only planned the attacks but were prepared to continue on with more attacks. Videos have also surfaced showing Farook at a gun range shooting the same assault weapon used in the attacks, essentially practicing with the weapon.
Four guns were used in the attack on the Inland Regional center: two assault weapons and two handguns.The handguns were legally acquired by Farook at a Corona gun dealership, while Farook’s childhood friend Enrique Marquez legally purchased the assault weapons. It is unclear if Marquez had legally transferred ownership of the assault weapons to Farook or not. At least one of the assault weapons was illegally modified to allow for the use of a detachable ammo magazine, violating California State Law.
An Opinion on Gun Control
California has the strictest gun laws in the United States, yet a successful mass shooting happened well within California’s borders less than a week ago. That begs the question: Do strict gun control laws actually do anything to help lower gun violence? I feel that this question is not a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no, but with some facts:
- According to the CDC and National Center for Health Statistics, California (With the strictest gun laws) is #9 in the country for the lowest number of deaths per capita due to firearms (7.7 gun deaths per 100,000 people in California)
- States with the highest number of deaths per capita due to firearms (such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Wyoming), have little to no gun restrictions. Many do not require any type of permit to purchase a firearm (16.7-19.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people)
By those statistics, I’d say California’s strict gun laws have been successful in lowering the number of deaths per capita caused by guns.
When it comes to mass shootings, the gun control debate can become tricky, as mass shooters do not hesitate to break laws and usually don’t have any intention of coming out of the incident alive. I only have one thing to say on the matter of gun laws and mass shootings: California law bans assault weapons used with magazines that can be removed for quick reloading. The San Bernardino shooters were forced to illegally modify their weapons to speed up the reloading process. They were not completely successful, as only one weapon was able to be modified and quickly reloaded. I’d say that if they had access to two assault rifles that were legally manufactured to allow for a quick reload, more people would have died. California’s gun laws may not have prevented the San Bernardino shooting, but may very well have saved at least a few lives that would have been lost if the shooters had access to quick reloading weapons.
The San Bernardino Shooting took place a mere 36 miles from Temescal Canyon High School. Gun violence and mass shootings are no longer problems for “Other people”. These are our problems now. A mass shooting took place in our backyard, and more shootings will continue to take place in our cities and our communities unless we take a stand. You don’t have to have all the answers to gun violence to make a difference. Little steps can go a long way. Become educated in current events. Do a quick Google search on gun violence. Develop an opinion. Get involved and start understanding both sides of gun control arguments. Little by little, changes will be made. Public opinions will shift. The key is to educate yourself and let your voice be heard, and you personally will have made a difference to society.
If you have an opinion on gun violence or anything else and you’d like it to be published, write it up and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your voice deserves to be heard.