On Thursday, a gunman opened fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College killing 10 people, according to CNN. In 2015 alone, there have been 297 mass shootings — incidents that injure or kill four or more people, for this year’s 278 days, as reported by the Washington Post.
President Barack Obama addressed the issue Thursday, saying, “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save these lives and let these people grow up.”
According to the New York Times, in January 2013 “Obama unveiled a proposal to overhaul the nation’s gun laws that would have included universal background checks and a spate of other measures he deemed ‘concrete steps’ aimed at preventing more mass shooting.”
However, lawmakers rejected the plan, and no push has been made since to regulate gun control. In Florida, no state permit is required to own or buy a rifle, shotgun or handgun, so anyone over 18 can purchase a gun if they so choose.
Florida is among 20 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses. However, the Florida Legislature is currently debating lifting the ban because some conservative politicians, in their misguided efforts, believe doing so will make college campuses safer.
Obama argued the U.S. government always fixes an issue when it is presented. If there is a disaster, the government works to help. But when gun violence reigns supreme, our government chooses to turn a blind eye to the issue.
Applying stricter gun safety laws does not violate one’s personal rights. It simply ensures that only those of sound mind and with a nonviolent history can have access to the weapons.
In his speech, Obama asked America’s gun owners, “to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you.”
He said states with stricter gun laws have fewer deaths related to firearms.
“The notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens, and criminals will still get their guns, is not borne out by the evidence,” he said.
Some argue the solution is more firearms. After the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” according to the New York Times. However, this belief becomes negligible, as Obama pointed out there is “a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
Citizens need to speak out. People should not be dying from deranged gun violence. Politicians desperately need to reevaluate America’s priorities and take the safety of its citizens seriously.
Unfortunately, this will only occur if they believe that voters are passionate about the issue. According to ThinkProgress, millennials make up 36 percent of eligible voters. Millenials have grown up surrounded by the threat of school shootings and with the warning to always be on guard forever present in our minds. As we approach this next election, it will be up to millennials to demand the much needed change.
Denying ownership of firearms is entirely unconstitutional, but stricter regulations on gun ownership are both permitted by law and entirely necessary to ensure a safer tomorrow.
Umpqua Community College is only the latest in mass shootings that appear in headlines.
In 1999, it was Columbine High School in Colorado.
In 2007, it was Virginia Tech.
In 2009, it was Fort Hood in Texas.
In 2012, it was a screening of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado followed five months later by Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.
The list goes on.
Enough is enough, and the country needs to finally own up to the issue and resolve its problem with gun control.