Guests arrived with some of them bringing companions, that companion being firearms that were secured in their holsters, to the Kalamazoo Public Library to discuss a gun violence and prevention in an open forum hosted by State Rep. Jon Hoadley.

Joseph Solis-Mullen, 26, a restaurant cook, husband and father of three children under age 8, was one of the many concealed licensed holders carrying their firearms at a community forum at the Kalamazoo Public Library in April. His wife, Alexandria Solis-Mullen, was also carrying.

The Solis-Mullens and two of their three young children came from Homer near Battle Creek to the open forum hosted by State Rep. Jon Hoadley, representing the Democratic party in Kalamazoo.

Alexandria & Joseph Solis-Mullen Photo by Adia Robbins

(left)Alexandria & (right)Joseph Solis-Mullen Photo by Adia Robbins

The family man has carried his 9mm Smith & Wesson for several months now. “The rash of shootings started happening and it really woke me up because there were several incidents at local schools,” said Solis-Mullen.

The schools near his home have been shut down due to students who threaten to bring guns or bombs into the building, making Solis-Mullen want to take his eight-year-old child out of their local elementary.

Solis-Mullen ran into some issues last year after he came in with his firearm strapped to his hip when dropping his 8-year-old son off at school. The issue has been resolved, he says, but Solis-Mullen still wants to see his son’s school and others put more money into security.

Solis-Mullen’s family has always carried firearms. His grandfather was a police officer. “I never felt safer as a kid than with my grandpa,” he said, “because I knew if something were going to happen, he was going to protect me.”

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