Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting Sparks Debate on Gun Control


(MeMelcon / Los Angeles Times

Three survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas massacre gathered in Thousand Oaks Nov. 11 for a memorial for the victims of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in that community.

Raquel Perry, Reporter

At least twelve people were killed and multiple were injured on Wednesday, after a gunman opened fire at country music bar packed with many college students in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman, who was later identified as David Long, was found dead inside. The motive for the shooting is unknown.

David Long was described by neighbors as troubled, volatile and in need of help that he wasn’t getting. He had several interactions with law enforcement over the past few years, including an April incident during which Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said that  Long was “somewhat irate and acting irrationally” , but mental health professionals determined he was not an immediate danger to himself or others and could not be involuntarily committed for treatment. There were also a few claims that he had suffered from PTSD.

The mother of 27 year old Telemachus Orfanos, who died in the mass shooting after surviving last year’s shooting in Las Vegas, made an impassioned plea for better gun control in a now viral video. “My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn’t come home last night, and I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns,” she said.

This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 students and teachers were killed at a Parkland, Florida, school in February. There was also the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting late last month where 11 people were killed and the Florence County, South Carolina shooting in which two police officers were shot in October, and the Downtown Cincinnati shooting in September. There have been many mass shootings that have not been as publicized.

However, the case is that there have been 307 mass shooting in the US so far in the year of 2018 which is almost one mass shooting per day, while there have been 15 mass shooting in Canada since 1885.

These recent shootings have been sparking up a debate about gun control, gun laws, and the rights of gun owners. Many politicians have critical explanations for the cause of all these shootings such as mental illness. This can definitely be true and may play a role, but the reason why Americans are seeing so many mass shootings in general is the lack of gun control. Lethal gun violence is the leading cause of death among young Americans and it is fairly easy for these highly lethal weapons to get in the hands of dangerous people than ever.

Comparing gun regulations in other countries to gun laws in America. Other developed countries require one or more background checks and sometimes even specific training courses and licensing requirements before owning a gun. In the US, a background check isn’t a requirement and simply a few barriers to getting a gun. Secondly, there is a larger number of guns in the United States than in other nations. According to an analysis from the Small Arms Survey, in 2017, there were about 120.5 guns per 100 residents, meaning that there were more guns than people.

The other standpoint is that there should be more mental health services since mental health is the cause of these mass shootings. Rick Carlson, a retired detective with the San Diego Police Department, said “It’s all a mental health issue. And it’s a state of mind. People get angry. If they don’t use a gun, they can use a vehicle. They can use incendiary devices” Although this statement is true in a way, there is simply not evidence to suggest that people with mental health illnesses should be the main focus for this debate.

Research has found that stricter gun laws will help and gun control measures, such as more background checks have led to a reduce in injuries and death. Guns aren’t the only contribution to violence, but America’s loose access to guns is the main reason why violence is worse compared to other countries. Dozens of Americans are still wondering why Americans let the gun violence persist