Change is needed in US gun policy

For some it may be hard to remember a time when we did not have to think twice about attending music festivals, churches, movie theaters or shopping centers. However, times have changed with the unfortunate reoccurrence of mass shootings.

While motives for these shootings vary, the shooting in El Paso last month appears to be influenced by race and anti-immigration sentiment.

For example, ABC News reported that the shooter, Patrick Crusius, told authorities his initial motive was to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Despite the fact that some outlets can be quick to blame violent video games or mental illness, the concept of white nationalism is often overlooked. These shootings may have multiple motives and all possibilities should be equally addressed.

(Stephanie Amaya | The Poly Post)

After reports circulate of a mass shooting, people are often on high alert and seek hope in promoting a change.

It poses the question as to when and how changes should be made to help our country become a safer place.

Gun control is a main concern following any catastrophic event involving guns.

Issues such as assault weapons and their government regulations, background checks and weapon registry have been some recurring topics among presidential candidates for the upcoming election.

It is not uncommon for Republicans and Democrats to back different laws in the gun control debate. Republicans seem to support red flag laws, which allow families to obtain a court order to take away a family member’s firearm if they feel it poses a risk. While Democrats advocate for improved background checks.

Current bills have been brought to the U.S. House of Representatives that would heighten requirements on background checks performed by unlicensed dealers, yet no new legislation has been passed. While implementation of these laws may not be able to prevent all mass shootings alone, there is hope that it could significantly reduce the number of such occurrences.

Although any policy change takes time, there is no doubt that some type of change needs to be in place.

The two shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, taking place only 24 hours apart, collectively killed 31 people.

Other countries such as the U.K. and Australia have adopted regulations that place stricter requirements on gun ownership.

As a result of their new legislation, the U.K. has reported significantly lower gun-related deaths compared to the U.S., despite their significant size gap in population.

We should not be afraid to attend daily affairs or enjoy populated events, nor should we feel the need to locate the easiest exit route.

It can be easy to feel small and overlooked in such a populous world with many varying opinions, but all change starts with one person using his/her voice and rallying with others.

We as students are the next generation entering the world, and while we may not all have a passion for public policy, we should all find a passion to help advocate and promote a change.

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