On Thursday, October 1, nine people were killed and another nine were injured in a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Reuters called the tragedy one of “the deadliest among dozens of U.S. mass shootings in the past two years.” Newsweek counts it as one of 142 school shootings in the U.S. And The Guardian marks Roseburg as the 994th mass shooting in America over the last 1,004 days.
Gun violence is an epidemic in the United States. When President Obama addressed the American people about the tragedy on Thursday, he described the series of events as all too routine.
“But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough.”
He continued, “This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America…the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.”
It is a sentiment echoed by many who are starting and signing petitions to reform gun control laws in their communities, their states, and across the country. Their efforts to change the background check process for firearm purchases, in particular, received a swell of support in the wake of the shooting in Oregon.
Nearly 98,000 people have signed petition created by Students Unite to improve background checks and reduce gun violence.
The student group has identified a major issue with gun background checks: states don’t have to submit information to a federal database that identifies who would be ineligible to possess firearms, such as those convicted of violent crime or those with mental illness.
The group is asking Congress to pass legislation drafted by Sen. Chuck Schumer that would allow the Department of Justice to develop rewards for states that submit records to the federal background check system and penalties for those that do not.
This federal database checks the background of every person that tries to buy a gun. What most people don’t know is that if the check isn’t completed in 72 hours, the gun can still be sold.
Another 41,000 people are banding together to ask Congress to close loopholes in the firearms sale process by making completed background checks mandatory for gun sales.
While people are trying to reform gun laws in the U.S., this isn’t the only action being taken in the wake of the Roseburg shooting. How else are people reacting to the recent shooting in Oregon?
“An alarming pattern has been recognized among these tragedies: The shooters almost invariably cite the resulting media attention as motivation for their crimes,” writes the petition starter, Erik Fox. “They do this for the immortality they believe the media will give them, and we can deny them that.”
While people want to curb coverage of the shooters, they want to elevate those who were heroes during the event.
More than 100,000 people are supporting a petition asking President Obama to grant the Medal of Freedom to Chris Mintz, a veteran who charged the shooter and was shot seven times as a result.
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