12 more people dead due to gun law mishandlement
By Mollee Ryan
Freshman Music Therapy Major, Opinion Editor
I remember hearing that gut-wrenching phrase on the morning of Nov. 8, as soon as I opened my eyes. My friend had run into my room asking me if I had heard about the tragedy. I hadn’t. As she explained it to me, she said, “12 people died.”
That was the part that got me.
On Nov. 7, former veteran Ian D. Long entered the Borderline Bar and Grill, shot a security guard at the entrance, then set off smoke bombs to cause confusion. Then, he went about his mission, succeeding, before he was found dead among the ones he killed. As many as 22 people were injured, among those 12 succumbed to their injuries.
When the patrons attending the bar heard the shots, they were brought to a terrible flashback. A flashback that occurred around the same time last year at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Many in attendance at the bar were involved in same exact situation, one year later.
“He knew what he was doing, he had perfect form,” Teylor Whittler, a patron at the bar that fateful night, said in an interview with The New York Times.
Starting after a mass shooting that happened in Santa Barbara in 2014, California passed stricter gun laws, including one that was designed to let courts temporarily ban at at-risk individual from owning a gun.
Then, a year later, after another shooting rampage in San Bernardino, voters approved a ballot idea that would outlaw extended magazines for guns and require backround checks for buying ammunition. California has also banned assault weapons and regulates ammunition sales.
As they should.
You would think that in California, a state with some of the toughest gun control, these types of mass shootings wouldn’t be able to happen; this crazy gunman should have had to go through all of the regulations just as everyone else does.
Well, he did. And the weapon was bought legally and fully outfitted with an extended magazine.
However, Long, as a Afghanistan war veteran, reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and police responded to a disturbance at the man’s house back in April. But with his PTSD and battle with his own mind, police decided that he wasn’t in danger of himself or to anyone else. He was allowed to stay in his home. Police couldn’t force the man to seek treatment, although it was strongly advised.
What else could California have done in a situation like this? What else could they have done to stop this?
“He made it through Las Vegas. He came home. And he didn’t come home last night… He was killed last night at Borderline… the two words I want you to write are: Gun control,” the mother of Telemachus Orfanos, a victim in the massacr said, according to The New York Times. She hung up the phone directly after.
Could the seller of the gun Long bought not have followed expected rules and regulations?
Maybe along with the strict gun laws to buyers, there should be stricter laws for sellers too. Maybe there should be laws set in place to assure sellers run backround checks and check proper registration for guns before they sell them “legally.”
Long was mentally ill, and the fact that he was able to buy a gun is ridiculous. And even though laws state that backround checks must be done and guns must be seized from mentally ill people, that did not happen. Sellers and police need to be more aware of these things. People are dying because of others’ mental illnesses, and it simply is not fair.
The police should have been able to force Long into treatment after that night in April.
The problem isn’t guns themselves — it’s the people who are handling them and the simplicity of the gun-buying process, although laws state otherwise. Change this. Enforce the laws. Make sellers accountable for every purchase and every person.