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Mixed reaction to Biden's executive order aimed at reducing gun violence

San Diego woman whose friends died in Isla Vista massacre weighs in
Mixed reaction to Biden's executive order aimed at reducing gun violence
Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 00:27:11-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Victoria Koenitzer’s life changed forever in 2014.

She was a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara getting ready for a night out with friends when she heard a shooting nearby had left dozens injured.

Two of Koenitzer’s sorority sisters were killed in the 2014 Isla Vista massacre while a third was left injured.

“It’s crazy but nine years later not a day goes by that I don’t think about my friends or the shooting.”

Koenitzer thinks President Joe Biden’s executive order issued Tuesday aimed at combating gun violence is a great step forward.

The goal of the order is to increase the number of background checks conducted before guns are sold and seeks to keep guns out of dangerous hands by increasing the use of red-flag laws.

“They have prevented shootings where there are instances where people are a danger and they have had plans,” Koenitzer, who is now an attorney, said.

But the San Diego County Gun Owners group said the Biden Administration is doing nothing more than virtue-signaling.

“The President is doing nothing different than what already is being done. Making gun owners the villains means Americans will be less safe,” said Michael Schwartz, founder of the group in a statement.

The Gun Owners of California group said Biden’s order will do nothing to stop mass shootings.

“There is nothing there that is really new especially here in California where we have more gun control laws than any other state in the union and yet we have the dubious distinction of having more mass shootings in California than any other state,” said executive director Sam Paredes in an interview from Sacramento.

He said law-abiding citizens are negatively impacted by gun laws.

“Government cannot stop all crazy people who are intent on committing mayhem. They can’t. It’s impossible, it’s impossible so the only other alternative is to allow the rest of the public to exercise their God givens rights to defend themselves.”

Koenitzer disagrees and said if a red-flag law had been in effect in 2014 she believes her two friends would still be alive.

She points to the San Diego City Attorney’s office, which uses gun violence restraining orders as proof they can prevent shootings. The office gets the orders against people who pose a threat to themselves or others.

The office said it has used the orders in instances where people contemplated suicide, targeted schools, threatened to shoot co-workers, and perpetrated intimate partner violence

“If you look at the data these laws are effective. We do take advantage of them in San Diego,” Koenitzer said.