Mass shootings: An American epidemic

La Voz Editorial Board

The future of our country lies in the enactment of sensible restrictions around the ownership of firearms as well as comprehensive education regarding safe use of firearms.

The outrageous amount of gun violence our country has faced, especially over the past few years, is appalling. There is no simple explanation for how this has gotten out of hand, nor is there a simple solution to the growing issue.

The Gun Violence Archive reveals that in the first month of 2023 alone there have been 49 mass shootings. California claims seven of those shootings, tallying the state’s death toll to 31 victims.

In December and January, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several laws such as AB-2239, which prohibits the possession of firearms to convicted child and elder abusers. Newsom also signed AB-228, requiring an inspection on gun dealers every three years.

Despite these promising efforts, the most recent California mass shootings in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park have only reasserted the need for tighter gun control and further proved that no bill or law retains enough power to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands. 

These massacres have made this country all too familiar with the repetitive post-shooting cycle: blood stains the country’s facade for justice and superficial cleansings filled with thoughts and prayers are brought forth through compensations for the grieving, but no true solution is proposed.  

As a country, gun violence can be demolished at its root by proper firearm laws and restrictions. This may come in the form of banning the casual ownership of assault weapons (whose original making was intended for the military) and concrete background checks on those purchasing any type of firearm.

However, this brings into question who should handle guns. Should it only be the police? What about teachers in schools who may need to defend their students in case of an intruder? All of this should be considered and calculated before citizens’ right to bear arms is brought into question.

Any sensible answer seems to have been lost in the polarized discourse. But a possible approach to limit massacres would be more education and psychological screening.

Admittedly, mental screenings can be tainted with and adult gun safety education may sound redundant to long-time gun owners. However, If we are to maintain a habitable country, one must get behind these conditions and join the 81% of Americans who believe in education’s power to avoid future turmoil.

Teaching children survival tips and including mass shooting drills in school curriculum reveals a deeply rooted and unsettling issue with the way this country handles firearm regulations. Rather than staying dormant, we must acknowledge, support and advocate for the laws and regulations that directly impact our safety and the security of our futures.