WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - We have all been shaken and saddened by the recent slaughter of innocent lives at a Florida high school. Mass shootings are occurring more and more, and it seems to be almost weekly. The fact that this is a common thing should be enough to spur real debate over both mental health issues and gun laws. After every mass shooting, a discussion on these two issues is thrown back into the spotlight.
In recent years, our country has witnessed some of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. With the number of guns already in circulation in the United States and the ease of access to them, preventing another mass shooting is unlikely.
It is past time for Americans to address our two-fold problem. Too many guns are legally in the hands of people who have no business owning one, and too many people with mental health issues are allowed to roam about legally carrying a gun. We all know that too many people with mental health issues are not flagged or provided help before they injure or kill someone.
There are hurdles that can be put in place to change the ease of access to weapons, specifically assault rifles. Things like more extensive background checks, or a more in-depth process of purchasing weapons. For those of you who want a gun for the best of intentions, you won't mind the extra steps.
As far as helping those with mental problems, our state has consistently reduced funding for mental health facilities and assistance to those with mental health issues. Many people throughout the country simply fall through the cracks in the system and are not provided the help they need, even though they are a threat to themselves and to others. There is no easy answer to this crisis, but the situation is not normal. And it's not acceptable. It's up to all of us to come up with sensible solutions that will keep us safe without violating our individual rights in a free society.
Consider this: We must always stop and mourn the innocent lives lost and refuse to accept this cycle of violence as the new norm. Whether you want gun laws to change, funding for mental health to increase, or want to point the blame somewhere else, you, the people, have the voice to be heard and should speak up. Contact your legislators and state representatives. Make them push for our schools to be safer, maybe refine our laws when it comes to purchasing guns.