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PSR/Sacramento is a non-profit, educational organization of health
care professionals and other concerned citizens committed to the following goals:



“Gun Control in Great Britain after the 1996 Dunblane Primary School Mass Shooting: A Model for the United States”


See the Events page for a summary of our 2023 annual dinner, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Michael North of Scotland on the above topic.  Links to a video of Dr. North’s keynote address and to the recording of a subsequent interview on Capital Public Radio Insight program are also posted on the Events page.

Dr. Michael North (center), PSR/Sacramento President Dr. Harry Wang and Americans Against Gun Violence President Dr. Bill Durston (to Dr. North’s right and left, respectively), and some of the many Clinica Tepati and Paul Hom free clinic volunteers who were among the attendees at the annual dinner on October 21, 2023.


PSR Sacramento Congratulates the Winners of our 2024 High School Essay Scholarship Essay Contest


Our 2024 High School Scholarship Essay Contest which was open to all California high school students. To enter the contest, students were required to submit an original essay of 500 words or fewer* describing their thoughts about the following excerpt from the Americans Against Gun Violence Mission Statement:

In creating constitutional obstacles, where none previously existed, to the adoption of stringent gun control laws in the United States comparable to the laws in other high income democratic countries, the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision and its progeny are literally death sentences for tens of thousands of Americans annually.

While we’re pleased to announce the winners of this year’s essay contest, we are deeply troubled by the fact the high school students chosen as winners in this year’s contest demonstrate a far greater understanding than the majority of our current Supreme Court justices concerning the rogue nature of the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision and its progeny and the devastating public health consequences of these decisions. We are also troubled by the fact several students have not felt secure in having their names and/or the names of their high schools published in association with their essays this year. We don’t fault the students who chose not to reveal this identifying information. Rather, we fault the toxic culture in our country that makes students not only fear for their lives every day they go to school, but that also makes them fear retaliation if they speak openly about the need to take definitive action to protect our children and youth from the threat of gun violence. It is part of our mission at PSR/Sacramento to change this toxic culture

This year’s awards bring the total monetary value of scholarships that we’ve given students in the twenty year history of our contest to over $250,000.  Donations to support our annual high school essay contest are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by state and federal laws, and 100% of donations to the essay contest fund go directly to student awards.

The winners of our 2024 essay contest are:


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

Janet Yang

(High School Name and Location Withheld at Student’s Request)

Now Is The Time to Fight for More Stringent Gun Control Laws

… Each day, 327 people are shot in the United States, among them 24 are children and teens…. How can this be America, the land where all “are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?” …. (Read the full essay


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

Carter Benson

Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove, California

Deadly Myths

 Myths can exist to explain and reinforce beliefs of a community. Though they can inspire, they can lead to deadly outcomes when they rely on fantasy rather than fact. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court endorsed two deadly myths in one when a narrow 5-4 majority of justices ruled that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right for individuals to keep guns in the home for “self-defense.”…(Read the full essay


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

Neal Chandran

Monte Vista High School, Danville, California

The Heller Fallout: Guns Kill People

 I am sick and tired of hearing, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This argument became even more popularized by the NRA after the landmark Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), in which a narrow five to four majority of justices reversed over two centuries of legal precedent by ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun unconnected with service in a militia…. The reality is that people with guns kill people far more often than people without guns, and we cannot neatly separate the two issues….(Read the full essay


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

Zachary Tomlin

Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, California

Bad Decisions with Deadly Consequences: The Supreme Court Rules Against Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

 …. On an average day in 2022, 132 Americans, including 10 children and youth, were killed with guns. These figures are equivalent to an almost full Boeing 727 airliner crashing with no survivors every single day….The Second Amendment is a single sentence in length. The five justice Heller majority, having ignored the conventions of written English, decided in 2008 that the first half of a sentence does not pertain to the second half of the same sentence….(Read the full essay


 $1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

(Author’s name and high school withheld at student’s request)

Betrayal of Trust: The Devastating Toll of the Heller Ruling on the U.S. Public

 The Heller ruling, in which a narrow 5-4 majority of justices reversed over two centuries of prior legal precedent and instead endorsed the gun lobby’s extremist interpretation of the Second Amendment, left me in shock. How is private gun ownership more important than the lives of our youth?… (Read the full essay


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

(Author’s name and High School Withheld at Student’s Request)

The Heller Decision and Its Progeny: Guarantees of “self-defense” or “death sentences” wrongly decided?

 Since 2008, over five people per hour, on average, have served “death sentences,” as described by Americans Against Gun Violence, related, in part, to the Heller decision – deaths due to gunshot wounds that could have been prevented by the adoption of stringent gun control laws that the Heller decision and its progeny have thwarted through the creation of constitutional roadblocks…. (Read the full essay)   


$1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

(Author’s name Withheld at Student’s Request)

Etiwanda High School, Rancho Cucamonga, California

Times Have Changed

You are probably not wearing a powdered wig right now. This owes largely to the fact that times have changed since the 1700’s. What was true then (e.g. white coiffures being the epitome of fashion) is not necessarily true today. Yes, there is arguably a logical historical basis for the Second Amendment. But we do not live in the 1700’s….(Read the full essay


 $1,000 Scholarship Award Winner

Zev Fisher

Orange Glen High School, Escondido, California

The Elephant in the Room: The Heller Decision

Battalion, army, soldiers, troops, infantry, national guard, standing army. What do all of these terms have in common? Like the word, “militia,” they all refer to military institutions. The other thing that these terms have in common is that under no circumstance could any one of them be misinterpreted as defining a single, private individual within society….(Read the full essay


$500 Scholarship Award Winner

(Author’s name and high school withheld at student’s request)


 …. Enraptured by the concert performance before them, the music would have momentarily drowned out the shouts and screams of the first victims until the entire crowd realized that they were in the midst of a mass shooting. As the shooter wounded and killed with his death machines, my Mom crawled amidst the chaos with her friends and sister to find refuge under the stage, all the while a bloodbath ensued around them….(Read the full essay)    


$500 Scholarship Award Winner

(Author’s name and high school withheld at student’s request)

Rampant Gun Violence Should Not Be Our New Norm

 In 2023, school shootings reached yet another record high. Sixteen years after the Heller decision, it’s not surprising that gun violence in our country has escalated to the point of normalcy…. (Read the full essay)     


$500 Scholarship Winner

Mark Mukminov

Mountain View High School, Mountain View, California


…[I]nfatuation with the right to bear arms stems deeper than the public sentiment, instead uncovering a story of decades-long legalized bribery on a national scale….Following a 1993 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that gun ownership increased rates of homicide, the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to rewrite the CDC’s budget, banning them from using any funds to “advocate or promote gun control ….


$500 Scholarship Winner

Arshia Zargarani

El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, California


The Second Amendment…used to have a straightforward purpose. Within the bounds of its own constraints, the right to keep firearms was only for the “security of a free State,” achieved by a “well-regulated Militia.”… Its single purpose has now become obsolete….When the right to possess firearms lost constitutional relevance, five Supreme Court justices took the liberty [in the 2008 Heller decision] to interpret the Second Amendment outside of its exact wording and the founder’s intentions….


* Note: Students were given the opportunity to edit their essays between the time that they were chosen as winners and the time that essays were posted on the Americans Against Gun Violence website if they wished to clarify major themes or add supporting evidence. The 500 word limit for the original essay submissions was waived for edited essays.


See the High School Scholarship Essay Contest page for past essay contest winners from 2005 through 2023

Quotations Used As Prompts in Past PSR/Sacramento Essay Contests

2005: “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today.” John F. Kennedy

2006: “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Martin Luther King

2007: “We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace.” Michael Franti

2008: “War is a racket with the profits reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” Maj. General Smedley Butler

2009: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Albert Einstein

2010: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Native American Proverb

2011: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” President Dwight Eisenhower

2012:  “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

2013: “Firearm regulations, to include bans of handguns and assault weapons, are the most effective way to reduce firearm related injuries.” American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention, April 2000

2014: “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

2015: “The world is over-armed, and peace is under-funded.” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

2016: “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.” The 14th Dalai Lama

2017: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

2018: “The connection between women’s human rights, gender equality, socioeconomic development, and peace is increasingly apparent.” Mahnaz Afkhami

2019: “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” President Barack Obama

2020: Peace is not only the absence of war. As long as there is poverty, racism, discrimination, and exclusion, we’ll be hard-pressed to achieve a world of peace. Rigoberta Menchu Tum

2021: “The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be. Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?” Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

2022: “Americans cannot teach democracy to the world until they restore their own.” William Greider

2023: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall, Ph.D.