2 Sac State Republican leaders defend gun rights


Claire Morgan - The State Hornet

Political science major Floyd Johnson II, vice president of the Sacramento State College Republicans, said he has always been interested in the intricacies of how guns work as well as gun rights.

Thomas Frey

Gun enthusiasts say that, on the gun range, a shooter is in their own world; zoned onto his or her target and zoned out of problems or worries. They say that the shooter has no room for the distractions of the outside world as they take aim.

For Floyd Johnson II, the vice president of the Sacramento State College Republicans, it is a thrill each time the bullet discharges and heads for the target.

“Being about to throw rounds down range really quickly, in quick succession, just gives you a nice rush,” Johnson said. “Nothing else on earth really operates like a gun.”

Growing up, Johnson, a 19-year-old political science major, said that he was always interested in the intricacies of how guns work as well as gun rights.

Johnson said that he wanted to shoot guns as a teenager, but his parents didn’t allow it. He said the longer he couldn’t shoot, the more he wanted to try it.

“The idea fomented over time that I can’t wait to shoot these things,” Johnson said.

When he first came to Sac State, Johnson said he joined the College Republicans because it is difficult to find people “who are like-minded and hold Republican beliefs.”

Johnson shot for the first time at a gun range with the College Republicans and has gone “a couple times” since.

Courtesy of Floyd Johnson II
Floyd Johnson II aims for a target at an indoor gun range in Sacramento

Aside from the fun of going to the range, Johnson said he wants to be able to shoot and own a number of guns when he is older. He also said the conversation surrounding guns and gun control should be more inclusive of different types of crimes, as opposed to just mass shootings.

“I think (gang violence) deserves more attention than mass shootings that get people all hot and riled up for that week or month, and then after that, it goes away,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of upsetting because (mass shootings) hurt the argument and progression of talking about guns.”

Johnson said that he thinks these tragedies add a negative connotation to what people think about guns.  He also said that gun owners are responsible people who keep them for self defense and recreation.

“If a regular citizen just wants to go into the gun store and buy a gun, you should be able to due to (the Second Amendment),” Johnson said.

Johnson isn’t the only Sac State student who shares these sentiments. Kyle Shallcross, a history major and president of the Hornet Republicans, echoes his thoughts.

Shallcross said he grew up in a family that always had access to firearms. He said that growing up, he used BB guns, airsoft guns and paintball guns before moving on to real guns as an adult, which he called a natural transition.

Now, at the age of 21, he said he is comfortable with handling guns and recently joined the National Rifle Association.

“The NRA, of course, is the leading group I would say of supporting firearm safety and responsibility, and they are the leader of pro-gun activists,” Shallcross said. “In my perspective, it falls in line with my beliefs on why firearms are used in society and why firearms are fundamental to the United States as a whole.”

Shallcross said he places a high value on safety and proper training. He also spoke at length about gun laws — everything from purchasing regulations to hunting procedures.  He said he believes that current gun regulations put responsible gun owners at a disadvantage.

“At the end of the day, if you want to prevent mass shootings, you have to first and foremost educate people on how to use guns responsibly,” Shallcross said.

In order to buy a handgun in California, you must be at least 21 years old and pass a written safety test and background check. Applicants must wait at least 10 days from the time the background check is submitted to take a handgun home.

“I’d be curious to see how much harder they can make it,” Shallcross said. “I think these laws are very disadvantageous to people like myself who abide by the law and respect it.”

California is known to have strict gun regulations in comparison with other states. In Louisiana, Mississippi and Arizona, for example, it is possible to purchase a gun without taking the test or going through a background check.

Shallcross said he would like laws to be more lenient in California, because at the end of the day, if someone wants to commit a crime, they are going to find a way to do it.

“Suggesting that creating a massive amount of gun laws will prevent mass shootings, I would say that the intent is good, if you are trying to prevent innocent people from getting killed,” Shallcross said. “The way in which it is applied is totally out in left field. If someone wants to commit harm, they are going to do so. Period.”

Shallcross said he would prefer penalties for irresponsible gun owners, similar to the penalties that are given to those driving under the influence.

“If you drive under the influence, they don’t just give you a slap on the wrist or $200 fine, they take away your license, and that is a huge incentive to not do it again,” Shallcross said. “I think you need to do the same with guns when people use them irresponsibly or illegally, so others aren’t encouraged to follow in their footsteps.”