Guns: A Constant Source of Controversy

The ongoing betterment of gun laws brings much debate with it

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Sarah Hawkins, Opinion Editor

Bend’s persona forever changed.

On the evening of August 28, tragedy struck Bend when a lethal shooting broke out at the east side of a Safeway grocery store. Leaving three dead in total, the degree of gun violence that occurred was a first for Bend. 

September 6th, 2022 marked another act of gun violence. Many students in Bend were unknowingly joined by several people with guns at a “rave” that took place two days before the start of school. The high school party turned dangerous when a Summit Senior was shot in a fight—needing to be rushed to the hospital immediately. 

Gun violence continues to be a prominent and growing issue across the nation. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 490 mass shootings in the US in 2022 alone. These events will never be forgotten, especially when so close to home. New gun regulations in recent months such as the red flag laws put into place, spark national conversations about the future of gun control and safety.

On June 8th, the House of Representatives passed a national red flag bill that enables a judge to take firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.

On June 21, 2022, the Senate passed the first step of the Bipartisan Gun Bill. In this new legislation lead negotiator, Senator Christoper Murphy is backed by a 64-34 majority and hopes to keep guns away from unfit people. According to the New York Times, The Bipartisan Gun Bill is meant to strengthen background checks, “giving authorities up to 10 business days to review the juvenile and mental health records for gun purchasers under 21.” Millions of dollars will be directed towards red-flag laws, allowing authorities to temporarily seize guns from people found to be dangerous. 

In early September, several credit card companies adopted a new code meant to flag gun purchases. Typical banking codes, which previously included guns, were typically used when purchasing from retail stores and buying other miscellaneous items. These codes made it so there was no telling if someone was purchasing a sporting item or a rifle, but now purchasing a gun will red flag your credit card. According to NPR, advocates for gun control hope that this will be a helpful start in preventing future gun violence.

A national firearms survey done in 2015, found only a portion of all guns out there is purchased at a firearms store. Guns purchased from family members, friends, or private sales don’t show up on this code. Privacy concerns arise now that banks aren’t just seeing how much is spent, but exactly what is bought.

Throughout the nation, the first steps have been taken to decrease the number of mass shootings, as well as various forms of gun violence. Oregon, apart from the US, has laws to protect people’s rights while working to keep Oregonians safe. Laws such as prohibiting guns in schools, including concealed guns, are already in place.

Jason Kropf, an Oregon state representative, is helping to pass ballot measure 114, which is set to be voted on in November 2022. 

“[Ballot measure 114] has a permit process that you have to go through before you can purchase a firearm, including the completion of a background check,” said Kropf, “and that would prohibit magazine cartridges over 10 bullets or 10 shells and a gun so you couldn’t have a gun that had more than 10 rounds of ammunition in it.”

Gun safety starts in the household. A previous Summit High School student, whose father owns both hunting rifles and handguns, said, “I would like to live in a world where no one ever had to have one, but I feel comfortable owning or having my father own them.” The comfort that this student feels comes from safe and responsible gun ownership. 

“The guns are always in a locked safe and if they are out they are not loaded,” said the student, “if it’s not taken care of responsibly, then accidents do happen and that’s when it’s dangerous.” 

Gun control is an ongoing debate and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Each side of the issue, whether you are pro-guns or against guns, brings up points that can’t be ignored by the other. New and existing regulations will help wave off some of the worries that people in Bend are feeling after two recent gun violence incidents after years of quiet.