Pacific West Injury Law opened its Changing the Law Scholarship application to incoming and current students who wanted to explore how today’s legislation might benefit from systematic change.
Applicants were required to submit an essay of between 500 and 1,000 words to Pacific West. These essays elaborated on what law the student would change, how they would change it, and what the benefits of their legal reform might be.
This year, Pacific West awards its Changing the Law Scholarship to Jacqueline Avila. As of Fall 2022, Jacqueline is pursuing a law degree at Texas Tech University School of Law. She intends to serve as a criminal prosecutor upon her graduation.
Jacqueline Encourages Improved Gun Control Policies Throughout the United States
Addressing a divisive topic like gun control can be challenging in light of today’s fraught political environment. As such, Jacqueline’s essay delivers a tactical assessment of the court case that prevents firearm bans.
Without recommending a total gun ban, she advocates for actionable changes to today’s legislation. These changes would make it more difficult for dangerous individuals to come into possession of a deadly weapon.
Specifically, Jacqueline addresses the United States’ unique mass shooting statistics. She also cites recent events that display the dangers of certain weapons available for public use.
A Three-Prong Approach to Gun Control
While acknowledging the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision that declares firearm bans unconstitutional, Jacqueline notes that the United States does not need to ban its most dangerous weapons to more effectively control them. Instead, Jacqueline recommends a three-prong approach to improved gun control legislation.
Her essay encourages an improved system of background checks for gun owners. This system could prevent anyone with a recorded history of violence from purchasing a weapon. She also elaborates on the benefits of a comprehensive gun permitting system. The only ban that Jacqueline encourages is one against high-capacity magazines.
Jacqueline acknowledges that speed is a mass shooter’s best friend during mass shooting events. She states that the means to “trick out” their weapons are often legally available to gun owners. By eliminating high-capacity magazines from consumer markets, Jacqueline believes that a mass shooter’s possible victims may have more time to protect themselves in an attack.
The Inspiration Behind a Nuanced Essay
When asked why she chose to write about gun control in the United States, Jacqueline cites the tragedies that so often come along with related conversations. In her essay, she states that the United States sees the most mass shooting events in the world, reminding the readers of the 267 tragedies that had occurred in the nation at the time of her essay’s submission.
She also notes that countries with reasonable gun control measures in place see a sharp increase in their residents’ safety and quality of life.
On a more personal note, Jacqueline remarks that she pursued her education – and this scholarship, too – because of inspirational figures in her family. She is the only member of her family with a bachelor’s degree and the first of them to go to law school. She says that she wants to encourage her youngest brother, Sergio, to follow her path in the future.
Putting the Pacific West Changing the Law Scholarship to Use
Jacqueline’s nuanced assessment of U.S. gun control legislation makes Pacific West happy to award her its Changing the Law Scholarship. After receiving word that she’d benefit from the firm’s financial support, Jacqueline said, “This scholarship gives me more freedom to pursue my education.”
As an incoming law student at Texas Tech University School of Law, Jacqueline understands that a 1L’s life is complicated enough without having to pick up outside work. Pacific West is proud to make her first year of law school a little less stressful.
Contributing to Her Community Outside of the Classroom
Jacqueline’s essay wasn’t the only part of her application that drew Pacific West to her. Her history of community service in her hometown also makes her stand out from the crowd. Jacqueline is well-versed in the world of federal, state, and local campaigning. She has previously put in the work needed to bring several politicians into the public eye.
She also spent time volunteering with her local library prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays, Jacqueline serves a law firm in her hometown as a receptionist.
Jacqueline’s Goals for the Future
At this point in time, Jacqueline intends to use her degree in political science to pursue a law degree at Texas Tech University School of Law. Upon graduating, Jacqueline hopes to familiarize herself with the world of criminal law. Her ambitions include serving as a prosecutor and running for an elected office.
Her interest in the complexities of gun control doesn’t end with her essay, either. Jacqueline states that she intends to explore the legislation surrounding gun control in the United States as her career progresses. She is part of a new generation of legal students who can bring a new perspective to this and similar laws once thought immutable by the general population.
Pacific West Injury Attorneys Want to Give the Next Generation a Leg Up in the Legal World
The law is an ever-fluctuating force throughout the United States. The next generation can bring new perspectives to the legislature that others believed to be permanent. That’s why Pacific West wants to encourage consistent and informed engagement with the law as that generation pursues higher education.
Jacqueline Avila’s essay on the complex issue of gun control reflects a commendable professional nuance. Pacific West is happy to contribute $2,500 to Jacqueline’s pursuit of her law degree.
Future applicants can follow Jacqueline’s example and submit their Changing the Law Scholarship essays to the 2023 scholarship application pool next year.