Adults, kids gather in Lafayette for meeting on gun violence prevention

- Adults and children lined up to get into Stanley Middle School Auditorium in Lafayette Saturday morning to participate in Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA11) town hall on gun violence prevention. 

DeSaulnier said the meeting was already in the works before the February 14th school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people. 

"Their [children’s] lives ruined by massacre after massacre and I believe that our government really needs to do something about it,” said 13 year-old Jillian Stuart from Walnut Creek. 

Rep. DeSaulnier said now is the time for Congress to lead a national discussion on gun violence. 

"It's going to be emotional for people, because there are strong feelings on either side, but that's the way democracy works. You talk just like a family,” said DeSaulnier. 

After the town hall, however, there was a group of people shouting angrily at news media, attempting to interrupt an interview with a Pleasant Hill man who loudly disagreed with DeSaulnier at the town hall. 

During the town hall, many asked questions about enacting stricter regulations on firearms. 

"We had airplanes invented and then we invented the FAA to regulate it, so we have commercial travel by air, which everyone seems to enjoy,” said Roy Hodgkinson, who moved to the US from Canada.
“We can do exactly the same kind of legislation around weapons."

There were several calls from the audience for a federal ban on certain weapons. Rep. DeSaulnier said he is in favor of a ban on the AR15. He said despite California’s strict state gun laws, guns still cross the state line. 

"The guns get here. The same thing happens in Chicago and Baltimore,” said DeSaulnier. 
“We statistically have less gun violence here, and researchers will say in part because of the policies, but in a big country where people can travel and bring guns in, they come here."

Brad Fell of Pleasant Hill was a lone and loud dissenting voice, who spoke up a few times to exchange words with DeSaulnier. He does not believe a ban on firearms is the answer to preventing mass shootings. 

"I mean, look, we have regulations on guns, and I'm okay with that,” said Fell.
“But when you start talking about bans and taking things away, that's why people like myself have problems with that, but it's a slippery slope - we're going to outlaw this and outlaw that." 

The crowd largely erupted in applause when a teacher said, “Arming teachers is a BS idea.” 

Rep. DeSaulnier agreed. 

"It'll be a real sad day in America when teachers have to carry weapons to school."

Lawmakers return to Washington, D.C. next week. 
 

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