The Rise of Gun Violence

A concerning trend of mass shootings has been on the rise

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The Rise of Gun Violence

This map of the US shows all the states where mass shootings have happened according to the Gun Violence Archive.

This map of the US shows all the states where mass shootings have happened according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Graphic by Kelly Morgan

This map of the US shows all the states where mass shootings have happened according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Graphic by Kelly Morgan

Graphic by Kelly Morgan

This map of the US shows all the states where mass shootings have happened according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Kelly Morgan, Entertainment Editor

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   The most recent mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque has sparked new controversy over the issue of gun control. Many are taking a hard look at policies surrounding this controversial issue and the reasons why the tragedies keep happening.

   In the case of the New Zealand shooting, the attacker wielded five weapons, two of which where semi-automatic rifles. These guns were legally owned by the shooter, and according to an article in the Washington Post, over half of the guns used in mass shootings are obtained legally. In the wake of the shooting, New Zealand has issued a ban for all military-style semi-automatic weapons, with an amnesty period to turn in firearms.

   The country’s rapid response to this tragedy has contrasted starkly with US politics. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 14,731 people in the United States died as a result of gun violence in 2018 alone, while nearly twice as many were injured. 2,841 of these deaths were teen fatalities. Despite these staggering numbers, US policies regarding gun control have changed very little.

   This issue of gun control has become increasingly relevant in present times; as mass shootings continue to happen, many are left wondering why the laws surrounding it have not changed. This is in part due to an alarming amount of interference by the lobbyist group known as the National Rifle Association, or the NRA. According to OpenSecrets.org, in the 2018 congressional cycle, the NRA spent $583,626 supporting a little over 200 congressmen. A majority of those supported by this organization are Republican representatives.

  Gun violence is not just limited to isolated events and politics. A disturbing trend of school shootings is also on the rise. Many students have protested gun violence in marches, especially after the Parkland shooting. Here in Grand Ledge, there have been several incidents of threats of violence against the school. Two years ago, a lockdown was initiated after reports of a gun near the high school, which turned out to be a false alarm. Last year, there was a bomb threat written in the school, which resulted in a shelter in place. Most recently, a shelter in place was issued after another written threat was found in the school.

   “There need to be stricter gun control laws, but I think it’s more of a mental health issue,” Karianne Rodeman, a junior at GLHS, said.

   Many other students are becoming active in the gun control conversation as well. Student protests have become a rapidly increasing occurrence after the most recent school shootings. For example, in 2018, students from Parkland, Florida led the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. to advocate for gun control after a school shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

   It is unclear whether or not protests such as these will affect US policies regarding gun control. With the NRA rooted so deep in the GOP and the White House, the outlook looks anything but positive. However, if these tragic and disturbing trends continue, the government has an obligation to take action to protect its citizens.