Op-Ed: It’s time for students to say ‘enough is enough’ to gun violence

The narrative plays out the same each and every time.

A mass shooting occurs somewhere where no one would ever expect. It occurs in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our schools, on our college campuses, in our movie theaters and at our concerts. It takes the lives of children, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and friends. We wonder how this can happen and how someone could perform such heinous acts. We give our support in the form of “thoughts and prayers.” Our elected officials do the same. Some call for strict gun laws, while others claim that evil will get their hands on weapons and perform the same acts regardless of laws. A week passes and the tweets stop and the “thoughts and prayers” cease. The cowardly actions leave people’s minds and we move on. And unfortunately, the pattern repeats itself.

Too many times, we have seen the headline “Deadliest Mass Shooting in American History.” At just 20 years old, we have lived through Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas and most recently Sutherland Springs, Texas. While these places grab most of the headlines, America experiences nearly one mass shooting per day each year. In 2017, there have been 311 days and 307 mass shootings. Gun violence must be prevalent in the minds of Americans and our elected officials daily, because mass shootings and gun violence is a daily occurrence.

Gun violence claims the lives of 93 people a day in the U.S. It is a rampant and out of control problem that, for some reason, our elected officials refuse to address. They sit idly by while Americans senselessly kill other Americans. Unfortunately, we let them. We put gun violence on the front burner for about a week, and then forget about it like nothing happened.

After the shooting that claimed the lives of 27 Americans Monday morning in Texas, it’s times to say enough is enough. Enough saying that there is nothing that we can do to prevent gun violence. Enough claiming that the Second Amendment prohibits any action or regulation when it comes to guns. Enough allowing our elected officials to get away with turning a blind eye to yet another mass shooting. Enough allowing each senseless act of violence wither away from the minds of Americans. Enough criticizing people for so called “politicizing” a tragedy.

The time to act to prevent further violence is now – and it’s on us. We must begin holding politicians accountable for their actions, or more accurately, their inactions. We must begin voting in accords with candidates who are strong on gun control, and against candidates who rack up campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. We must align with people who are gun owners and begin to have a conversation with them to create common ground and find a solution. We must support groups that are working tirelessly to find solutions, and prop them up to allow them to gain influence in Congress and push the NRA out.

The time for inaction has passed. We must stop hoping and wondering when a solution will be found and begin putting in the work to help find solutions because it’s on us. It’s time to put our foot down and say enough is enough. Every tragedy is on us. It’s not out of our hands. It is on us to prevent the next tragedy from occurring.

Enough is enough.

Christopher Jean, a junior double-majoring in political science and history, is the policy director of Colonials Demand Action.

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