Ortiz: We need to prioritize people’s safety over right to bear arms

Kenia Ortiz

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual authors only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

It’s Aug. 4, 2019, and in the past two days, there have been two mass shootings. The first shooting was in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019. How many times will we wake up to another headline of another mass shooting in our country?

Ad

On the verge of tears, anger and desperation in me, I want to know how many mass shootings it will take for the supposed leaders in our country and protectors of the Second Amendment to understand we need change now.

Before I continue, I want to say right off the bat that I am not a law student. I am a sister, a daughter and a friend. I am human.

And that is enough for me to know that the gun policies in our country are failing — and they have been failing for years.

White nationalist and terrorist Patrick Wood Crusius took the lives of 26 and injured 20 others when he decided to open fire at a Walmart — the first of the two shootings.

Police found a manifesto that had white nationalist language and racist hatred toward immigrants and Latinos. In the manifesto, Crusius blamed immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs. According to CNN, even though authorities are still investigating Brenton Tarrant’s (the Christchurch shooter who was mentioned in the manifesto) connection to the manifesto, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting a “hate crime” during a press briefing. The FBI has also opened a domestic terrorism investigation.

The second shooting was yesterday morning, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. As of right now, at least nine people were killed and 26 people were injured. The gunman is said to have been wearing body armor and carrying ammunition magazines as he opened fire in Ned Peppers Bar. The gunman killed himself, but the police have not been able to identify him or his motive.

Back in March, there was a mosque attack that occurred in New Zealand. After the Christchurch mass shooting, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a ban on “military-style” weapons.

It took 26 days for New Zealand to act on gun control. New Zealand passed a law that bans most semiautomatic weapons in the country. Before the law was passed, Ardern put a temporary ban on assault rifles in place just days after the terrorist killings.

Why did it take New Zealand less than a month to get their priorities straight and ban semiautomatic weapons while the U.S. still has not?

Why is it taking so long for the U.S. to understand that not only do stricter gun policies need to be enforced, but that white nationalist terrorists are the problem as well?

Ad

People deserve to be put before the right to bear arms, And the gunman should be labeled and called what they are — a terrorist.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is calling for stricter gun laws and is condemning white nationalist ideology.

“America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terrorism,” Buttigieg said, according to HuffPost. “White nationalism is evil. And it is inspiring people to commit murder, and it is being condoned at the highest levels of the American government, and that has to end.” 

When asked if he believes if Donald Trump is a white nationalist, Buttigieg said the president “at best condones and encourages white nationalism.”

Buttigieg has also, like many have before, offered policy proposals to help end gun violence that any responsible gun owner, and humane gun owner, would have no problem following. Such policies include implementing universal background checks for firearm purchases, banning the sale of high-capacity magazines, allowing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and passing “red flag” laws that remove firearms from at-risk people, such as those convicted of domestic violence.

This can happen to anyone in any community. Almost two years ago, gun violence affected Colorado State University’s community. Many people at our University are survivors of Columbine, Arapahoe High School and Aurora Theater. 

The people of this country deserve to know that those in power are doing everything they can to ensure our safety. People deserve to be put before the right to bear arms, and the gunman should be labeled and called what they are — a terrorist.

No one should be in fear of going to the movies, a bar, church, school and the grocery store.

The U.S. needs more than just better gun reform; it needs to recognize that not only does the easy access of guns put our people in danger, but that our country is overflowing with white nationalists who have access to such weapons and pose a threat to everyone around them. 

Kenia Ortiz can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @Kenia_Ortiz_.