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Natalie Evans, Editor-in-Chief

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Continued Shootings Bring Gun Control Issue to Light

307, that is the number of mass shootings that have occured in the US in 2017 as of today. There could be more, there could be less, as the US does not clarify exactly what makes a mass shooting. It is interpreted as deaths of three or more people in a public place. 307. These tragedies happen in schools, churches, government buildings, and even at concerts. Some blame it on gun control laws around the country, others blame the lack of care and coverage for the mentally ill. Wherever these tragedies stem from, the only thing everyone agrees on is that it has to stop. So the question remains, how?

After every mass shooting, the same routine occurs. Twitter, Instagram, and every other social media platform blows up with prayers, angry thoughts, and hashtags like #PrayforLasVegas. Even politicians voice their concerns, and then radio silence. A week passes, maybe even months, and then like clockwork, another shooting, and the cycle repeats. Each time there is an outburst of advocacy, but never any legislation that helps to prevent the next tragedy.

Gun laws are a very taboo topic. The debate for stricter checks before purchasing a gun, and which guns should be restricted, is always in discussion. In Missouri, the law is based on conceal and carry. A person does not have to attend a training session to carry a firearm, and no permit is required to purchase a gun. A person can start carrying a firearm at the age of 19. The only restriction when purchasing a gun is for those that are a domestic offender or a felon.

Missouri is one of the more lenient states in terms of gun control. According to the CDC, the number of gun deaths in Missouri is a higher number than car accidents, making many Missouri democrats feel that the conceal and carry law is a danger to residents. These tolerant laws are not the case for all regions in the US. In states like New York and California, at every stage of acquiring a firearm there is a check and limitation.

“I think that they need to be much stricter in the US. I think it is too easy for people to buy a gun, especially considering the prominent mental health issue we have in this country,” Grace Hunter

Opinions about whether or not the US has satisfactory gun restrictions differs on either side of the aisle.

“I think that making stricter gun laws will change the situation that we are in right now. Personally, I feel that new laws will not make a difference,” Alyssa Sansom (10) said.

The amount of shootings may not seem too substansial to some. The US is a very large country, with a considerable population and all of these shootings happen in a span of a year, which is an extended amount of time. That is until you look at other countries.

In 1996, Australia was home to a large mass shooting; 35 people were killed and 23 were wounded. After this tragedy, Australia banned all semi-automatic firearms, and created restrictions on purchasing a gun and getting a license. After this legislation passed in 1996, they did not have another mass shooting until 2015. Zero shootings in 19 years.

This sizeable change not only makes the US look bad, but also provides evidence to the argument for banning guns in the states.

The situation of more current and angry outrage began with Sandy Hook, in December of 2012. 26 people were killed- 20 children and six adults. Since 2012, mass shootings have moved into new territory, no longer just at office buildings, now schools. Even before Sandy Hook, tragedies at schools took place. The 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, where 32 students were killed by a senior at the college. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, struggled with severe depression and anxiety prior to the shooting. Then in 2008, at Northern Illinois University, five students were killed in class. Like Cho, the shooter also struggled with depression and other undiagnosed mental illnesses.

These events not only affects students, but it also now impacts the way teachers conduct their classes. More than ever, the fear is present.

After Sandy Hook, and almost every shooting that occurs, the question from many students is, are we safe? Even after many times as principles, school officials assure schools around the country, the fear is still there.

“I feel that generally, people should feel a little bit unsafe, but at the same time at LHS I do not feel much of a difference, because of the the area we live in,” Hunter said.

One of the many patterns seen in shootings like Sandy Hook in 2012, Virginia Tech in 2007, and in Texas just a few weeks ago, is mental health. The US is known for neglecting national mental health provisions, and this has caused many problems. This raises the question if guns are even an issue, or if the lack of mental health programs is the real problem.

After Sandy Hook, and almost every shooting that occurs, the question from many students is, are we safe? Even after many times as principles, school officials assure schools around the country, the fear is still there.

“I feel that generally, people should feel a little bit unsafe, but at the same time at LHS I do not feel much of a difference, because of the the area we live in,” Hunter said.

One of the many patterns seen in shootings like Sandy Hook in 2012, Virginia Tech in 2007, and in Texas just a few weeks ago, is mental health. The US is known for neglecting national mental health provisions, and this has caused many problems. This raises the question if guns are even an issue, or if the lack of mental health programs is the real problem.

Painted by one of Pilot’s Artists in Residence, Sarah Dooling (11).

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