Chico locals, students weigh in on national gun control debate


Various guns, gun parts and gun attachments were displayed at the Big Chico Gun show Sunday. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

Guns and gun regulation is a never-ending discussion, especially after recent incidents like the Parkland school shooting.

The Chico Rod and Gun Club held their annual Big Chico Gun show at the Masonic Family Center last weekend.

This year’s gun show was held on Saturday and Sunday. Numerous booths showcased self defense classes along with different types of weapons such as shot guns, hand guns and semi-automatic rifles. There was even a booth that called for the State of Jefferson, the 51st American state.

This ‘State of Jefferson’ table at the gun show explains why the operators believe 23 northern California counties need to break off from the rest of California and become their own state. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

An Orion news reporter attended this gun show on Saturday to speak with gun owners about their opinions in light of recent school violence. To include students on this topic, the reporter also spoke with Chico State students on campus to compare some student opinions with a local gun owner’s opinions.

Senior animal science major Roxanna Gonzalez said that gun laws in America should be similar to Australia and New Zealand guns laws. Both countries have heavy restrictions and regulations on guns.

Senior animal science major Roxanna Gonzalez said that gun laws need to be more strict. Photo Courtesy of Roxanna Gonzalez

However, Blair Snyder, the manager of the Big Chico Gun show, doesn’t believe that guns are the problem.

“People are always going to find ways to commit crime. It would be impossible to get all the guns from citizens. There would be a war before that happens,” Snyder said. “Countries like Australia still have roughly the same crime rates as the U.S.”

Manager of the Big Chico gun show Blair Snyder believes guns aren’t to blame for recent school shootings. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

He also pointed out that the Second Amendment was put into the U.S. constitution in order to protect ourselves from tyranny. According to Snyder, the bottom line is that the rights of people supersede anything else.

Public outcry after each school shooting generally calls for the regulation of guns and the banning of certain guns like the AR-15, the gun used during the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Senior kinesiology major Andrew Orozco said that military type guns shouldn’t be in the hands of regular citizens. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Orozco

Senior kinesiology major Andrew Orozco said citizens shouldn’t have access to all types of guns.

“Military type guns should be banned,” Orozco said. “Regular citizens have no reason to own them.”

Shot guns, assault rifles and hand guns were all on display at various gun show booths. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

Snyder believes that the main problem is that there is a failure to report potential threats.

“The guy who shot up the church in Texas was discharged by the Air Force and he should have never gotten a gun, but since the Air Force is too worried about not looking like they have a bunch of crazies over there, they let this guy go,” Snyder said.

He also believes that the are not enough restrictions on those who are dealing with mental health issues. He specifically pointed out a problem on the buyer application that is legally mandated by the state.

This document is mandated by the federal government for gun owners when buying or transferring a gun. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

“Item 11f on the form only covers those with mentally ill patients that have been adjudicated,” Snyder said. “This doesn’t cover those who haven’t been to a doctor or treated with anything. It’s hard for us to know who really is not mentally fit to own a gun.”

These signs were posted outside of the Chico Masonic Family Center during the gun show. Photo Credit: Roberto Fonseca

Snyder stressed that sellers at the gun show fear selling their guns to the wrong person and these gun owners take many precautionary measures to ensure they don’t sell to a potential active shooter.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca13 on Twitter.