The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
The tragic school shooting at Umpqua Community College has brought gun control to the forefront of national discussion. Although gun control has been relevant before the shooting, the issue oscillates with these events. Gun control has become a topic discussed in American politics that is heavily debated on by both parties, with no clear answer given.
Bernie Sanders is a recent illustration of the complexity of the issue of gun control. During the recent Democratic debate, Sanders stated his belief that holding gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a tough law to enforce. His response was that he wasnt in favor of shielding all gun shop owners or gun manufacturers from responsibility, but that holding them responsible if they [gun owners and manufacturers] knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and abetting that, of course we should take action.
Next, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley gave his two cents on the issue. During the debate, O’Malley brought up how the system gives precedence to the gun lobby, mentioning how the parents of an Aurora shooting victim took to the courts to solve their problem. The court threw out the case and ended up being faced with a $200,000 court fee. According to O’Malley, this illustrated how the NRA takes precedent over everyday citizens. Sanders debated with OMalley, with OMalley saying that his state was able to have reasonable gun control laws and have the NRA comply, due to leading by principle and not pandering to the NRA.
As Republicans debate the issue, they mostly argue for deregulation in gun control. Candidates like Donald Trump see no problem with gun control. They say owning guns is a 2nd Amendment right, which many view as a cop-out. Republicans gloss over the issue at hand and direct it to a different topic all together. For example, Donald Trump doesnt give a clear answer to fixing gun control on his website, but instead makes it a mental health issue, fixating on the broken mental health system. Trump victimizes the law abiding gun owners because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and media for the acts of deranged madmen.
What’s clear about both sides of the aisle is that mental health shows up for both political parties. Both Sanders and Trump mention that the problem that needs to be dealt with isnt stricter gun control, but the mental health issues that people have that makes them think mass shooting is a viable option. The problem is that the gun control laws currently in place are not doing an effective job in stopping such shootings or the US mental health system not being adequate enough to help people with these issues.
Amer Elali is a third-year political science major student at Cal Poly Pomona likes to read, watch movies, and play video games with friends.