Gun laws in America are back in the forefront. Once again the country has experienced another mass shooting. On December 14, 2012 a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Connecticut and began shooting, killing 27 people, before shooting himself. Among the dead were his mother, whom he shot in her classroom and another family member found dead at a home near the school. This is, now, the largest mass shooting tragedy in recent U.S. history; but where did it all begin?
Many will go back to the infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Two students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at the high school killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library. In 2007 a gunman opened fire one April morning at the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 people.
In 2011 a gunman fired shots in Tucson, Arizona, hitting U.S. Rep. Gabbie Giffords in the head, while killing six people and wounding 13 others. In July of this year 12 people were killed in a midnight mass shooting at a movie theater in Aura, Colorado while viewing the opening night of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” In August of this year a gunman killed six people and wounded three others at a Sikh Temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The month of December now has two mass shooting occurrences across America, the first happening in Portland, Oregon where a young man opened fire into a shopping mall, killing two people and wounding many others and now the elementary school shooting. Often, the gunmen in each of these shootings turned the gun on themselves, or were shot by police during the shooting rampage.
When will the conversation about gun reform take place? Whenever these mass shootings take place, government officials say it’s not the “appropriate time” to talk gun reform. Killings across America are happening everyday, particularly in urban areas where illegal guns are purchased and used in armed robberies, gang violence and domestic violence.
Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, took his girlfriend’s life and then his own in the first week of December. Again, gun reform hasn’t been the central focus, but rather mental health, which is a serious issue with each of the gunman in every one of the listed cases.
Political pundits place much focus on the killers and their mental health issues and gun control and the victims become the second focus. Only when mass tragedies like the school shootings occur do we hear the low cries for gun reform, but what about before the next tragedy occurs. What will our leaders, the ones we elected, stand up and do for the safety of America, the safety of sacred places like Sikh’s, schools and shopping centers- what will they do so American’s can go about their business doing the normal things in life without fear of freak shootings.