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Umpqua Community College

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Jan Cepeda

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Last week, the country was shaken after a fatal shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. The shooter claimed the lives of nine people and injured nine others. After investigations, officials found six guns at the crime scene and seven others at the perpetrator’s home.

Among the 50 states in the United States, 40 can issue a gun to a civilian so long as they pass the few requirements asked by the state. It is very easy to obtain a gun and a license within these states. Gun laws are managed individually by the states, however there are some similarities in requirements that states share. These include requiring a license, and registering guns with law enforcement agencies, and safety training.

According to the firearm law of the state of New Jersey, Title 13 Chapter 54, the state requires a state permit to purchase a weapon within the state, as well as registering the weapon with law enforcement agencies. Open carry of handguns are allowed in the state however it is not practiced often. The state also prohibits the possession of assault firearms.

When instances of gun violence occur, officials are quick to blame the shooter for having mental issues such as depression, schizophrenia, violent behaviors, or paranoia. There are some states that do extensive background checks and mental assessment, but even then it’s so relaxed that most of them who fail would still be able to possess a gun.

Americans are known to love a few things: beer, burgers, NASCAR, Twinkies, and guns…especially guns. The moment the media covers a shooting, gun supporters go ballistic because they view it as an attack on their 2nd Amendment rights. However, what they do not realize is that a change in gun laws does not mean you cannot own a gun, it just means it will be harder for civilians who are trying to purchase one to use them for harm.

Let’s take a look at Japan. Japan has one of the strictest gun laws in the world. According to The Atlantic, in 2008 there were only 11 instances of gun violence reported whereas the US had more than 12,000 that same year. Even Japan’s notorious organized crime syndicate the Yakuza prefer not to use guns. The only guns that Japanese citizens are allowed to purchase are shotguns and air rifles and they are not very easy to obtain. The licensing procedure for guns in Japan is rigorous. The procedure includes a requirement for a person to first take classes and take a written test, shooting range classes, mental health and drug tests, and a rigorous background check that involves investigating the person’s relatives as well.

If the United States passes gun laws that are similarly strict as Japan’s, gun violence in the US will surely decline rapidly. Of course both Japan and the United States have such varying histories on gun policies and it might be virtually impossible to implement gun laws as strict as Japan’s. After all, the United States’ second amendment guarantees that the government does not have full control on force.

I just want to repeat: stricter gun regulation does not mean your right to own a gun is being taken away. Increased regulation serves to protect the citizens and helps prevent guns getting into the hands of dangerous people. As a college student campus safety is important and we should be prepared for any danger as well as campus public safety. For more information on how you can be prepared be prepared come to the Active Shooter Session and find out more on Friday, October 9, 2015 11:45am – 12:45pm on Campus Center Ballroom B.

For more information, feel free to check out these references:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

http://www.guncite.com/journals/dkjgc.html

http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/pdf/firearms/062408_title13ch54.pdf