Policymakers: regulate guns, prevent further heartache

It’s time that policymakers listen and enact gun control laws.

On Thursday, a gunman opened fire in a Southern California bar and country music venue, killing 12 people. He was found dead inside the bar, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, CBS News reported.

Last month, a gunman killed 11 people and injured six others worshipping at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. 

Since a gunman killed 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, nearly 2,000 more mass shootings have occurred in the United States in places like movie theaters, churches, schools and concerts, Vox reported. 

I can’t help but wonder why our policymakers aren’t doing anything to ensure the safety of the American people. Students, families and many others have been calling on our leaders for too long, asking for regulations on selling and owning firearms. It’s time for them to listen.

The shooting in Southern California was the 307th mass shooting in America this year in 311 days. This means there’s almost an average of one horrific occurrence each day, USA Today reported. A mass shooting includes 3 or more shooting victims, not including the shooter, and is not a gang, drug or organized crime-related, according to the Stanford Mass Shootings of America data project, which began in 2012.

As a country, we can’t sit back and be OK with so much heartbreak. 

We need more thorough background checks and more restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. As the mass production of AR-15 style weapons increases, so will the death toll.

Christina Borst, a junior strategic communication and political science major and the president of Temple College Democrats, said America desperately needs stricter gun laws.

“Typically, when an issue arises in politics and crime-related our social landscape…we’re supposed to implement change and make policies to try to improve upon that,” Borst added. “How many more mass shootings have to happen before something changes?”

I wish we didn’t have to ask that.

It seems like protecting our right to own guns and defending the Second Amendment is more important than keeping people safe. Even the president resorts to victim blaming and defending firearms.

After the Pittsburgh shooting, President Donald Trump told reporters, “If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him.”

James Lammendola, a legal studies professor and former defense lawyer in Philadelphia, said Trump’s remarks were “an excuse not to make reasonable restrictions on firearm use.”

“If a mad gunman with a plan is going to storm any building, I think it would be unlikely that even an armed guard would be able to stop a person that was using the element of surprise,” Lammendola said.

Instead of pointing to what could’ve, our leaders should be coming up with ways to reduce firearm-related casualties. We are losing innocent lives, after all.

British journalist Dan Hodges tweeted, “In retrospect, Sandy Hook marked the end of the U.S. gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

Hodges tweeted this in 2015, two days after a gunman killed nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. So far, he has been right about this. But it can’t be over. We have to keep advocating for reform by voting for candidates who actually care about our safety.

We need to keep pushing lawmakers with walk-outs, protests and other activism until they realize we don’t want to keep living in fear of these random acts of terror.

It’s sad that we live in a country where an issue that affects so many people crime-related. I’d hate to see our country become the world leader in killings and hate crimes. And I can’t bear to see another dreadful headline.

I’ll keep hoping for the U.S. to become a safer place to live, and I won’t be quiet until it happens. 

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