The second mass shooting within a month occurring in the next state over makes you realize how frequent
and close to home these shootings are happening.
It is becoming an issue that makes you think of the current gun control climate on campus and in
Conway, and how it could just as easily occur here.
In response to this most recent mass shooting at a small community church in Texas, President Donald
Trump said, “I think that mental health is your problem here,” and he goes on to say that it is not a “guns situation.”
According to the Washington Post, the gunman was identified as a 26-year-old former U.S. Air Force airman who opened fire in the church, killing 26 people.
While Trump’s statement is not totally wrong in deeming this a mental health issue, he is misguided in saying that this is not a gun issue.
This is not to point fingers at Trump or his views — this is addressing the view that this situation is solely a mental
health issue and has nothing to do with gun control, which is sure to be a common view among many gun advocates.
This view — separating mental health and gun control issues — has many apects to it that prevent this country
from getting better gun control and stopping mass shootings at the source.
When we, as a country, have people with mental health issues owning guns, that constitutes a problem on two levels: one, that this country has a problem with mental health and two, it has an even bigger problem with the mentally ill owning guns and going out and killing massive amounts of people.
The problem lies in the fact that the gunman, Patrick Kelley — who had a past of violence and imprisonment — was able to somehow get his hands on a gun.
Even if he somehow acquired his gun illegally, this points to an issue of illegal gun laundering and still
needs to be addressed.
Trump makes the point that it could have been worse if the person who killed the gunman had not had a gun to fire back at the gunman, which is plausible under the circumstance that the person shooting back was a licensed carrier with capable enough judgment to know that people were in danger.
However, instead of leaving the situation to law enforcement — the people trained in handling these situations — yet another person was killed by gunfire that night.
This is not to say that no one should be permitted to have guns or that any particular party other than the gunman is responsible for the shooting, but separating mental health and the current gun control situation is what is keeping this country from getting something that it obviously needs: better, stricter gun control.
This view is only providing excuses for people who do not want to address gun control or are afraid of what situations like the Texas and Las Vegas shootings would mean for gun control.