SOLANA BEACH, Calif. — San Diego County Rep. Mike Levin hosted a town hall at Skyline Elementary in Solana Beach on Saturday to raise awareness about the impacts of gun violence and how to prevent it.
The town hall came less than a day after a 15-year-old was arrested in connection to a shooting in a Chula Vista shopping mall that left four people wounded.
“When I was a kid, we had things like earthquake drills,” Levin said during the town hall. “Today, they have active shooter drills and it’s so critically important that we try to come together in whatever way we can to prevent gun violence.”
One of the panelists, Bishop Cornelius Bowser, spoke from his experience as a former gang member about how devastating gun violence can be.
“One of the reasons I got myself in church is because one of my good friends, the night I was with him, he got killed,” Bowser said. “Shot in the head, shot in the chest and that kind of woke me up.”
He now runs outreach programs to help those that might be vulnerable to gang recruitment or those already in a gang change their lives.
“That’s how you reduce the gun violence as it relates to gangs in our community,” he explained, “to have to get to those individuals that are directly involved.”
At the town hall, Levin also voiced his support for universal background checks and an assault weapons ban — proposals that have again gained traction in the wake of a shooting that killed 18 in Maine and left 13 others injured.
Earlier this week, Lewiston police confirmed that the gunman in the mass shooting, Robert Card, used two AR-style rifles in the spree.
However, some gun owners like Michael Schwartz, executive director of the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, argue that stricter gun regulations would be an infringement of the Second Amendment.
“An assault weapon is just a scary pejorative term that politicians use to describe a normal firearm,” Schwartz said. “This isn’t a machine gun or something unusual.”
“I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I also believe we got to do everything we can to reduce gun violence,” Levin said.