Why DVC students are concerned about gun control on campus


Gun violence has increased significantly in the United States. (Photo courtesy of Healthcare in America).

Jayleanni Britto, Staff member

As of Sept. 3 there have been 289 mass shootings this year in the United States. Twenty-two of them took place at schools. Here at Diablo Valley college, students are now wondering if their campus could be next, are looking for preventative ways to address the threat.

But for some, changing gun laws may not go far enough to ensure student safety.

“We can make as many laws as we want but it also needs to be a cultural change rather than a bunch of law changes,” said Oru Soso, a sophomore political science major.

Gun control has become an epidemic in today’s society, with schools at the forefront of the crisis. This begs the question: should students here in Pleasant Hill be concerned about gun violence on campus? Mass shootings are becoming too normal, and by the time officials respond with serious solutions, it may be too late.  

Soso, who is originally from Nigeria, fears that even if new laws are put in place—which at the moment remains unlikely—people can still find a way to get their hands on a firearm.

“I definitely think there should be tighter and more restricted gun laws because I don’t think it should be easy for people to get access to guns,”she said. “I feel like places that do sell guns should sell them (only if) you have a license to carry a gun, and that you have to pass a mental evaluation to carry a gun.”

Sam Kanyika, a DVC computer science major, said, “A lot of people have no reason to purchase a gun, unless you’re actually using it responsibly and not putting anyone in harm’s way.”

Other countries look with dismay on the U.S., where purchasing a gun can seem almost as easy as buying a candy bar. To buy a handgun in California, for example, there are very few restrictions: gun buyers only need to pass a background check, show proof of residency, and be 21 years or older to purchase a firearm.

Buyers can only legally purchase handguns approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. But many people obtain illegal firearms through the gun show loophole, where private sellers at gun shows are authorized to sell arms to just about anyone, without a background check.

For foreigners especially, America’s gun laws are practically impossible to understand.

“My dad was a cop and he had a gun, (so) I’m used to guns,” said Cassandra Ezike, a DVC nursing major also from Nigeria.

“The gun laws aren’t tight enough in Nigeria, and to come to America and still face the same thing in a country that’s supposed to be so civilized, that’s looked at as a standard for other countries… there should most definitely be restrictions,” she said.

Diablo Valley College has a manual in most classrooms that refer to all the steps students and teachers can take in case of an active shooter on campus. The three primary recommendations: Run, Hide, Fight.

The manual also has a section on “How to respond when law enforcement arrives on the scene.” It states that when law enforcement shows up, students should remain calm, keep their hands visible at all times, and avoid panicking and making quick movements.

It also includes vital information students should provide to law enforcement or 911 operators, like the location of victims and the active shooter, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), and the number and types of weapons the shooter used.

Finally, the manual stresses the importance of recognizing signs of potential workplace violence. It lists common violent behaviors spotted in active shooters before mass killings have taken place. These include increased use of alcohol or drugs, signs of depression or withdrawal, increased comments about violence and owning firearms, and references to other violent crimes.

Something as simple as seeing someone looking up firearms on a computer in a school zone should be taken with precaution, according to experts.

If Diablo Valley College is serious about protecting the safety of its students, the school needs to do more than issue manuals. Politicians aren’t acting on behalf of citizens; the gun laws aren’t changing, and people are still dying. We need to recognize the real threat that students face every day they show up to class, and take action before more damage is done.