We have the power to limit mass shootings

Thomas Planera, Editor-in-Chief

Eight days ago, we experienced yet another shooting. This one happened to take 10 lives, including the gunman.

This is just another of the many shootings we’ve seen in recent years. It now seems like standard practice.

President Obama addressed the country in a public statement regarding a mass shooting for the 15th time last Thursday.

He demanded for stricter gun laws and said that we have become numb to mass shootings; it’s become “routine”.

He’s right about our decreased sensitivity to things like this. When I hear about mass shootings on the news, I can only think about when and where the next one will take place. I think about how much of an outcast the shooter will be and what his excuse is this time.

So whose fault is it?

Obviously the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, is directly at fault. However the question always comes back around: What are we doing wrong as a country?

The country is divided over guns. Some say we need less guns, the others say we need more. The truth is, there are enough guns circulating in this country to provide one for every man, woman and child.

According to a new Columbia University study, about one out of every three Americans owns a gun. In states like Alaska and those in the southwest, as much as 61 percent of the population owns one or more guns.

Almost all of these states do not require a permit to own a gun, and in Utah, you can carry a loaded firearm with just a permit.

In the city of Chicago, however, exist some of the strictest gun laws in the country. We can also boast a total of 60 murders last month, making it the deadliest September in 13 years.

Illinois’ strict laws can’t stop East St. Louis, either. This small city has a murder rate of .86 per 1,000 residents, 21 times greater than the national average.

The problem with Chicago is that our law enforcement isn’t cracking down on illegal firearms. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said himself, “Too many guns coming in, too little punishment going out.”

We don’t see, though, mass maniacal shootings by a sole gunman in this city, or state, for that matter.

These mass shootings by crazed gunmen occur in states where it’s legal to buy assault weapons and weapons with magazines of large capacity.

I think there is always going to be some oddball that wants to shoot up a school, and there won’t be much that can stop him.

He may use guns or he may use bombs. Either way, he’ll try. The least we can do is limit his equipment.

With that being said, every state should have very similar, if not uniform, gun laws that prohibit extremely dangerous firearms intended to kill a lot of things at once and require thorough licensing to obtain any firearm.

I’m a supporter of our Second Amendment, but not if that means everyone and their mother can buy a gun at the local Walmart in half of our states.

So what can we do about mental illness?

I’ll admit that I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think Harper-Mercer was going to check himself into a mental health facility anytime soon, so there’s limits on how we could’ve handled this situation regarding this aspect.

Do we blame culture? I say yes, but that’s another editorial.