The Journal Address

Gun violence requires immediate government action


In about the last month, at least 34 people have lost their lives due to a mass shooting. The loose definition of a mass shooting is “an event involving the shooting of five or more people,” which means that this number doesn’t account for lives lost in smaller scale shootings.

We, The Journal, believe gun violence should be brought to the forefront of the national conversation. Taking other countries into consideration like New Zealand, which changed its gun laws less than a week after a mass shooting occurred, the U.S. is lacking the necessary urgency to improve and update our current laws surrounding gun control. 

There’s no doubt that other major problems are affecting millions of families nationwide, but Americans can’t do anything to help stop these issues if their lives are being senselessly taken by guns. One hundred Americans are killed with guns every day, according to Gifford’s Law Center. If people don’t think something needs to change, then they have simply become numb to gun violence because of how much we see daily. 

In the most recent mass shootings, like El Paso and Dayton, many politicians and people in our government have stated that the reasons behind these tragedies are because the shooters are victims of past trauma or have mental health issues. We can stress mental health all the time, even in situations such as these. But to use it as an excuse to not fix the real problem at hand is unacceptable. Shooting after shooting, the typical white shooter is labeled as troubled because some people can’t accept that domestic terrorism can exist in what many see as the greatest country. Domestic terrorism is classified as any act in which the perpetrator attacks people of his/her own country, usually for political purposes. 

Unfortunately, the mass shooting in El Paso is a perfect example of an attack against his own country to carry out his political, racist agenda. Authorities believe that the gunman posted a manifesto before he killed 22 people and injured 24 in El Paso. According to ABC News, many of the victims had Hispanic last names and eight of these victims were from Mexico. After his 10 hour drive to open fire at a shopping center, the gunman later told detectives that he was, in fact, targeting Mexicans. The manifesto states that his racist ideas predate Trump era, along with “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” So, are these shootings going to be passed off as mental illness, or are these acts of racist, domestic terrorism that many refuse to see and acknowledge?

The fact of the matter is, even if it is argued that mental health issues are responsible for these shootings, people with these mental illnesses would not be able to carry out such violent tragedies if they did not have access to such dangerous tools. 

Accessibility to guns is a major factor in the reasons behind any shootings. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, there are 393 million guns in circulation. This statistic is terrifying  because anyone with the right connections can have access to such harmful weapons. For example, the gunman responsible for the Dayton shooting acquired his equipment from friends and family and was able to carry out his act of terror. 

This accessibility, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, also increases the risk of death by suicide by 300%. People can argue that even if guns were taken away, people determined to commit suicide would find another way. However, according to EveryTown for Gun Safety, less than 5% of suicide attempts without a firearm result in death. 

With everything else in our country that causes national panic, preventing gun violence should be a top priority. The alarming death rates and number of shootings per year make it  obvious that change needs to be made to ensure safety in the United States of America.