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San Diego Groups Debate Stricter Gun Control Laws

Evening Edition Host Peggy Pico speaks with Michael Schwartz from the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee about the proposed gun legislation.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Recent mass shootings on college campuses have renewed attention to gun violence in the U.S.

Last month, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a ballot initiative that would, among other things, ban large-capacity magazines and require background checks on ammunition purchases.

Locally, a new group, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, has emerged as the "voice for San Diego County gun owners," according to its website.

Michael Schwartz, executive director of the PAC, said Newsom’s proposal doesn’t address the populations who commit the most gun crimes.

“There are two groups of people committing the majority of gun crimes — repeat offenders and mentally unstable,” Schwartz told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. “Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation and there are murders from repeat offenders.”

Schwartz said the best way to protect public safety is to allow people to arm themselves.

“We’re not saying everyone should choose to have a gun,” Schwartz said. “If they are sane, law-abiding, they should have the choice to protect their families, protect their homes in a way that makes the most sense.”

Ron Marcus, a member of the San Diego chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the goal is create regulations “everyone can be comfortable with.” The Brady Campaign was created after former White House Press Secretary Jim Brady was shot when a mentally ill man attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

“We want to do some consensus building here, because we all have the goal of public safety,” Marcus said.

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