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The fight against gun violence is just as pressing as vaping

Do you ever find yourself nervous at a movie theater, scared sitting in class, or vulnerable in public? For some, this worrisome attitude increases as a result of an increase in mass shootings in America. According to Gun Violence Archive, as of Sept. 1 there have been 283 mass shootings in America.

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In recent months, Americans have witnessed some of the deadliest shootings of the year. On Aug. 3, a shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, claimed 22 innocent lives and left 24 wounded, according to the GVA. Within 24 hours, another shooing at a historic district in Dayton, Ohio, resulted in nine lives taken too soon.

With shooters targeting public areas, many individuals find themselves on edge. Recently, chaos ensued in Times Square as the crowd believed shots were fired; however, the noise was caused by a motorcycle backfiring. Videos spread on social media highlighting the true panic of people as the crowd sprinted out of the area.

This fear of mass shootings has become intertwined in our culture. Every day, I fear for my safety as I sit vulnerable in class or go out to nightclubs. This fear should not consume my mind, but this is the America we live in.

The innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary, Pulse Nightclub, Parkland School and countless other places, should have led to major changes. Politics aside, we must acknowledge that innocent lives are being lost.

It is hard to believe that this battle is still being fought. However, legislation has been passed to ban vaping products. These bans come within days of news platforms highlighting deaths related to vaping. Where is the change that came after the 27 innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook or the 49 lives lost at the Pulse Nightclub?

In 2018, Americans saw an increase in activism for gun control. This surge came in the wake of the Parkland High School shooting. Many united for the “March of our Lives” protest hosted in Washington, D.C.

Several states have strived to create stricter gun laws. California has raised the minimum age to buy rifles, and shotguns from 18 to 21, created a lifetime ban on gun ownership for those convicted of domestic violence charges and banned gun ownership those who were committed to a mental institution twice in one year. Similar policies are being passed in Illinois, Oregon and Washington State.

I praise attempts to create change; however, there needs to be national change. This fear of mass shootings should not consume all of the lives. Party politics are becoming dangerous as lawmakers are focusing on helping their political party rather than the good of the people.

Until we have a change, this is our life; this is our fear, and this is our America.

Nicholas Hernandez is a junior journalism major from San Marcos, Texas.

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