After news about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Hank Milius picked up his wife, a retired fourth-grade teacher, from the airport. He could tell that she had not yet heard the news and made sure that they did not listen to the radio or watch TV. He wanted to give her “one night of blissful ignorance” before he broke the news to her. In the morning he let her know what happened, and she burst into tears.
Less than two months into the school year, South Bend schools have already seen at least three instances of gun possession with three students less than 17-years-old. In two of these instances, shots were fired. A student at John Adams High School rightfully states that gun violence is the biggest issue in South Bend today causing “students as well as the community stress and concern.”
Gun violence in the United States and specifically in South Bend is a painful reality for many students, teachers and members of the community. Even though 90% of Hoosiers support background checks, Indiana still fails to pass legislation to implement them. To show South Bend, Ind. and the United States that the people of South Bend want more gun legislation, we must vote for gun-sense candidates to represent us in government.
A gun-sense candidate is a contender for a political office who seeks to implement safer regulations into the purchase and handling of guns. They essentially advocate for gun control laws, which would end up restricting gun ownership and lowering the impact of gun violence on American citizens. They support different methods to reduce gun violence like requiring background checks for the purchase of firearms, raising the minimum age for gun purchases, and the enforcement of mandatory safety features to reduce the number of accidental gun deaths. They also support assault rifle bans which consist of dismissing the sale and production of “all semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature.”
To reduce gun violence in South Bend, we must vote for gun-sense candidates this November and every election. Two candidates on the ballot in this election who have pledged to address the threat of gun violence are Thomas McDermott for the U.S. Senate and Melinda Fountain for the State Senate.
McDermott, a Navy veteran, currently serves as the mayor of Hammond, Ind. As a father of four, he is familiar with the fear every parent experiences sending their children to school after reading the latest headline reporting yet another school shooting. He supports a ban on military-style assault rifles — the weapon used to kill seven and injure another 48 Americans as they tried to celebrate the 4th of July in Highland Park, Ill.
Melinda Fountain agrees with Ind. law enforcement that Hoosiers should have a permit to carry firearms. Permit-less carry laws are associated with a 13% increase in gun homicides and a 29% increase in violent gun crimes. She shares the opinion of 90% of Hoosiers that every gun sale should require a background check, a policy corresponding with 15% fewer homicides than in states without background checks.
Both of these candidates agree that gun violence is a public safety issue our elected officials must address. Gun safety is not teaching children to cower in the corner of their classrooms. Gun safety is taking proactive measures to ensure that no child ever finds themselves in that position. We should not have to live in fear of gun violence while our representatives fail to deliver policies proven to decrease it.
With every mass shooting, we mourn the lives lost as a result of gun violence and fear for the safety of those we love. We should use this as motivation for change in politicians and current flawed gun legislation. As a nation, we can stand together to prevent any more losses. By participating in midterm elections and electing gun-sense candidates, we can create a safer environment for those around us, as well as work to make this country a safer place for students, teachers and every other citizen of this country.