Greed behind the gun

art by Kathryn Eilert

art by Kathryn Eilert

My initial reaction to the statement was shock. Had there really been a school shooting near my old home? I heard later that night that the victimized school was an elementary school in Townville, S.C., about 20 minutes from where I used to live. No one I knew was affected, but the sickening feeling of gun violence close to home made me realize the growing issue of gun violence everywhere around the country today. Recently, I noticed how the issue could potentially affect my home again, this time in Missouri.

Missouri’s Republican majority legislature overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an amendment to the conceal and carry gun law (Senate Bill 656) instated in 2014 on Sept. 16, 2016. The amendment revisits government control over guns in public places. The new law was intended to settle citizen complaints about strict gun control laws, although nothing is settling about the increased gun violence that could result from the law.

According to the New York Times, Democrats opposing the law called it “the perfect storm.” The law allows close to unlimited freedom to purchase, carry and conceal a weapon. It establishes purchase of a gun without a criminal background check, an official gun license or special firearms training and right to carry a gun in any place that doesn’t mark themselves with a “no guns” sign. The law also states that law enforcement cannot confiscate firearms from anyone unless they are under arrest or have a reason to suspect criminal activity. A new “stand your ground” policy is also included, allowing anyone who feels threatened the right to shoot under self defense.

This new amendment is risky and alarmingly dangerous. Missouri has never allowed this little of restriction on guns within the state. Prior to this new law, Senate Bill 656 deemed the carrying and purchase of handguns illegal without a state permit. Guns of all kind have proven to cause issues nationwide. According to NBC, one in three Americans own guns today; according to CNN, there are more mass shootings in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.

Missouri has recognized the epidemic of gun violence by amending the state’s previous gun law, however the outcome after releasing the new law is hazardous. According to the Riverfront Times of St. Louis, 943 people were killed by firearms within Missouri state borders in 2014. In the same year, there were more deaths from gun violence than from car accidents in the state. Missouri does not need to suggest anything potentially leading to further gun damage.

The issue of gun violence was wrongfully ignored by Missouri State legislature. Now I have trouble feeling safe in public places because I am thinking about who may be carrying a gun around me. This new law begs to be revisited but will not be affected until enough people decide to challenge state legislature. Voters should take this plunge of further action by writing or speaking to state representatives about a revisit to the new amendment once it’s released.

For the sake of our friends, family, and fellow Americans, we must contribute by voting to limit gun violence by expanding gun control. If we do not, the death rate by firearms will only rise and more people will fall to the mercy of a person behind a legal barrel of bullets only intended for murder. Who really pulled the trigger here?