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Increased Gun Violence in Santa Barbara

Gun violence has increased in Santa Barbara over the past couple of years. It is sad but also the reality.  In a recent Santa Maria Times article they stated that there is an increase in violent crimes in Santa Barbara county by 7%.  There have also been a lot of incidents in the past 2020-2021 that have affected everyone to some magnitude, including Santa Barbara High.  Most of these cases are due to gang-related activity and a majority are committed by men.  Most people believe that most of the guns that are used in shootings like these are “legal” guns and are purchased accordingly, though most guns are purchased by someone else then given to the culprit.  

A recent shooting happened on the Eastside.  This was a gang-related shooting according to and the two arrested are juveniles.  The victim was named Jesus Espinosa. He was an Oxnard resident who was taken to the hospital but later pronounced dead on the 31st of March.  The two juveniles are the ages of 17 and 15, are both residents of Santa Barbara and they are still awaiting sentence, their names are being withheld due to their age.  Another person was later arrested.  Her name is Irene Fernandez and she is being convicted for “accessory to a felony with special circumstances” and “gang murder with use of a firearm”.  The investigation is still ongoing and there are no new details about this case yet.

Later in 2020 an incident happened on October 1st where a stabbing victim described as a Hispanic male adult was unresponsive and without a pulse when the authorities found him.  He was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.  No further information has been given on this case and no one has been convicted for the murder.  And it is still under investigation.   

Also in very recent news two suspects Bryan Munoz and John Doe were arrested for the murder of Enzo Marino and Jasper Pieter van der Meulen.  One of the suspects is 15, the other is 21. The two victims were college students and were declared dead a week after the attack.  The motive was a drug deal gone south, the two suspects were part of a Santa Barbara Westside street gang and already had charges brought against them.  No further information was given and the trial is still underway.

There have been a lot of notable bills that are geared to help the control of gun violence. One is Grassley-Cruz which persecuted the illegal purchase of firearms and a database open to gun sellers so they know who not to sell to.  The bill was not passed but the two senators are trying to get it through.  Also a bill was passed which expanded background checks.  

In my opinion the increase of gun violence shows us that all criminals will get guns if they want them, and we should make an effort on making it a better system, for example the Grassley-Cruz bill background firearm check and a team to prosecute criminals who purchase guns illegally.  The bill also allows gun dealers to access the FBI’s National Gun Information Center for a stolen-gun database.  

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