MSU Shooting Aftermath: The Fight to Lower Gun Violence 

 It’s been weeks since the one a gunman shot several students on the campus of Michigan State University, Monday, February 13th, killing three and wounding five. 

The tragic news had brought heartbreak and sadness for many of victims families. The outcome also brought up the discussion of state legislation needed to address mental illness and gun reform in political circles in Lansing. 

It was also the rallying call during a homegoing funeral service for one of the deceased victims, Arielle Anderson, a sophomore at MSU.  

“We are here because Arielle made a difference,” said Brian Banks, former State of Michigan Representative.  “We have a Democratic Governor who stands ready to sign into law anything that makes sense and addresses our situation,” Banks said. “We demand change, we demand action. Because too many of our young people are dying at the hands of gun violence and mental health is at the root of that.” 

The mass shooting incident is an unwelcomed alarm for parents when children are away at school and what this incident does for their mental state. 

“It’s terrifying,” said Dr. Rose Moten, a clinical psychologist. “As a parent, my everyday prayer is that my children are protected. You have to have a lot of courage to send your kids out in this world, because there are so many possibilities of what ifs and what could happen.” 

Dr. Moten speaks to her personal faith that one’s child or children are making good decisions although there’s a whole world filled by anyone person or incident ready to derail one’s life. 

“It’s not easy for us parents but we have to do it everyday for our kids to be able to get out there and spread their wings.”  

The campus shooting has yielded some movement in the state government to draft legislation on the issue of gun reform. In early March, the Michigan House of Representatives passed universal backgrounds checks.  

“This is a historic step toward protecting children and saving lives from gun violence,” said Ryan Bates, Executive Director of End Gun Violence Michigan. “This legislation ensures that no gun in Michigan weather a pistol or an assault rifle can be legally sold without a background check. This bill will save lives and move Michigan toward a day when guns are no longer the number one cause of death for children.” 

The track to secure government action has also prompted mental health care professionals to speak out. 

“I’m tired of hearing politicians use mental health care as an excuse to do nothing about our gun laws,” said Dr. Brian Stork a urologist and gun violence researcher at the University of Michigan health system. “We have to do both. We need more services for mental health care and we need common-sense gun reforms. It’s not an either-or choice.”  

Dr. Strok was part of a group of physicians and mental health experts who spoke out to support multiple gun violence bills pending in Michigan legislature. The bills include universal background checks, safe storage, and extreme risk protection orders. 

“Firearms are the most common method of completed suicide in the United States, and they are dependably lethal. Very often there are warning signs indicating that individuals are in imminent distress. In these situations, an Extreme Risk Protection Order can be a life-saving intervention that can enable us to interrupt the deadly progression from impulse to action,” said Dr. Sonya Lewis, a psychiatrist, and Vice President of the Michigan-based group, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.  


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