On Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, it was a normal day at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Students practiced their daily routines, getting up early and attending classes. No one would have anticipated the horrors that were soon to take place. However, at 10:38 a.m., Christopher Harper-Mercer, a 26 year old student, took out a gun and started shooting other students and teachers, killing 10 and injuring nine others. He later committed suicide after police officers showed up.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a mass shooting has occurred and ended lives, and it will not likely be the last. In 2015 alone, 22 shootings have taken place with a total of 19 deaths and 38 injuries, with the shooting at Umpqua Community College causing the most deaths. These people died at their schools where their only crime was wanting to be educated.
It makes no sense to die in one of the places that should be totally safe and crime free. The previous shootings were at colleges in which are not near UCC, and no one can predict where the next one will happen.
Who should be held responsible for these shootings? Is this a sign for authorities to take a second look at the gun laws of each state? Would regulating gun purchase somehow limit those cruel attacks? Hypothetically, it would.
Here are the gun laws in the state of Oregon as well as our home state of Missouri:
A resident of the states California, Idaho, Nevada or Washington may purchase or otherwise obtain a rifle or shotgun in a contiguous state and receive in this state or transport into this state the rifle or shotgun unless the purchase or transfer violates the laws of the state, the state in which the purchase or transfer is made or those United States.
It is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon whether upon said person or concealed about one’s person in a vehicle, unless one has a license to carry a concealed weapon.
There are no state licensing requirements for the possession of a rifle, shotgun or handgun.
No state permit is required for the purchase of rifles, shotguns or handguns.
It is unlawful to carry a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon capable of lethal use into any school, onto a school bus or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board.
According to the law, anyone above 21 can purchase a gun.
But shouldn’t there be a background check first? What if that person had a psychological problem that would lead him or her to misuse the weapon? At least have them registered so if anything happens, they could be tracked.
Moreover, I believe that gun permits should be issued with restrictions and care. The fewer weapons available, the fewer deaths that would occur. Finally, I think that security in schools and colleges should be taken more seriously since shootings are more frequently occurring.
Infographic made by Kelsey Neth.