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Santa Monica College to Host Prominent Gun-Control Advocate

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By Lookout Staff

March 27, 2014 -- Tom Diaz, former NRA member turned gun-control advocate, will speak next month at Santa Monica College, where one of the deadliest shooting sprees in the bayside city’s history last summer came to an end.

Diaz’s talk, “The Gun Business: How We Can Change Policies That Kill,” will take place in the Humanities & Social Science building, around the corner from the library, where last summer, police gunned down a young shooter, ending a rampage that left six dead.
“Diaz is a former National Rifle Association (NRA) member, gun enthusiast, and competitive shooter who became a strong advocate for stricter gun control in the United States after researching gun legislation while working as a Congressional staffer, and interviewing victims of gun violence,” college officials said.

He “has written numerous research papers and articles on the proliferation and easy availability of firearms in the United States, and their impact on crime, death, and injury,” officials said. “A prominent speaker on the gun industry and gun control issues, he has appeared on numerous television and radio shows.”

The question of gun control has been a hot topic in Santa Monica over the years, most recently after June 7, 2013 when 24-year-old John Zawahri stormed onto campus with a semi-automatic rifle.

Zawahri killed his brother and father before heading to SMC’s campus where he killed three more people before being gunned down by police himself.

In the days following, one more person was killed and two wounded in unrelated shootings. (“Recent Spate of Shootings Break Long Peace in Santa Monica,” June 12, 2013)

Santa Monica’s congressional representative Henry Waxman convened a summit, which was held at City Hall, on gun safety following the events.

“The result of this summit was a bill sponsored by the Congressman, to reduce access to the types of weapons used on June 7,” according to a City-issued report on the events released this week.

Diaz’s lecture will be held at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, April 3, in Room 165 of the SMC Humanities & Social Science building on the main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

Seating is on a first-arrival basis. For more information, call (310) 434-4003.

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