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Editorial: Gun obsession must end

Heidi Wickersham, left, wipes away her tears while consoling her sister, Gwendolyn Wickersham, center, a UCC student who is grieving for her creative writing mentor, the slain Lawrence Levine, 67, a Umpqua Community College mass shooting victim, during candlelight vigil at a memorial service at Riverbend Park in Winston, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

When mass violence on college campuses becomes the norm, there is a big problem.

There has been multiple college campus shootings since 2013 and the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College has brought the total to 142. There has been 45 shootings in 2015 alone.  Enough is enough.

We at the Spectator would like to extend our condolences to the Umpqua community and the families affected. The shooting only reinforces the need for a change in this country.

Although there is a desperate need for a change in policy, this will continue to be a problem until there is a substantial change in the social norms in this country.

It’s no secret that Americans love their guns so taking them from people is not an option. What we can do is imitate countries, such as Australia, which has seen a dip in gun violence in lieu of strict firearm regulations that make it difficult for any citizen to obtain a gun.

Strict gun regulations could help drive the number of campus shootings down, but that won’t be enough. There needs to be a campaign similar to the one against cigarettes. Once we begin to stigmatize guns the same way we have to tobacco they will lose their appeal.

There is a certain mysticism surrounding guns in this country. Until we end the firearm love affair, people who are unqualified to handle guns will continue to have access to them. It is a myth that guns make you safer. There is no evidence that supports this claim.

Law abiding citizens with firearms are not a deterrent for would be mass shooters. There were people with concealed carry permits on Umpqua’s campus the day of the shooting and they chose not to act out of fear of being mistaken for the shooter.

The problem for this country is an issue of mindset, not policy.  However, it takes years to change the mindset of a country, it only takes a few signatures to change its policy.

Have an opinion on the matter, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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