Columbine feared due to their propensity for

Columbine placed the reality of mass shootings into the public spotlight while simultaneously bringing gun control and the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms, into question. Although people are so quick to defend anti-gun laws due to America’s increasing problem of mass shootings, the same people tend to overlook the more important details of how America’s mental health system has failed society. All mass shooters have been proven to have mental health issues, while the opposite idea is incorrect. Not all mentally ill people end up being mass shooters. Gun control is not the solution to decreasing the number of mass shootings in America, fixing America’s mental health system is.Media outlets often never admit a shooter’s motives and portray them as a horrifying stereotype that has tainted how society looks at mental illness. Media outlets manipulate information given to mass shooters to paint them as monsters instead of trying to understand them as people. “Media coverage often solidifies the mistaken belief that these individuals should be avoided or feared due to their propensity for violence and unpredictability. Pictures of James Holmes with his hair dyed orange; Jared Loughner’s mugshot grin; and images of Seung-Hui Cho holding a gun to his head incite fear, rather than understanding.” (Wolf and Rosen, 8). All of the individuals listed above share two similarities; access to guns and some form of mental illness. When these two variables are seen together, it is often easy to make dangerous assumptions about mentally ill people. However, the media often overlooks the shooters motives and the exact mental illness that they might have had. For example, James Holmes, known for the 2012 Aurora shooting, had a family history of mental illness and was on an antidepressant called sertraline that was used to treat the Obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia. Despite this, Holmes was able to purchase guns legally with background checks. Holmes chose a midnight showing at a movie theater as the location for the shooting in order to not hurt children and to show that he did not have a message to make. Jared Loughner, known for the 2011 Tucson shooting, abused alcohol and drugs in the years leading up to the shooting. He had also suspended from Pima community college in September of 2010 due to bizarre behavior disruptions in classes. After his arrest, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, therefore, deeming him unfit to stand trial. Seung-Hui Cho, known for the Virginia Tech shooting, criticized rich kids, debauchery, and deceitful charlatans, stating “you caused me to do this.” in his manifesto. In an investigation of Cho’s medical records discovered that the court nor New River Valley Community Services never oversaw that Cho complies with a mandated court-ordered mental health treatment. Hurst explored the negative impact that these stereotypes can have on society, “research shows that 54 percent of participants who read a story about a mass shooting believe all people with mental illnesses are dangerous, compared to only 40 percent of participants who did not read the mass shooting story.” Many mental illnesses are incurable and not well understood, often making people jump straight to the anti-gun mindset because they are afraid of the said “unpredictability” of the mass shooters. many people do not realize that mass shooter rarely commit the horrendous actions on impulse and show warning signs by having one or more of the following: developing a sudden fixation with guns, certain person or cause, suicidal tendencies, and more. Increased referrals and funding to mental health may be more effective than stricter gun laws at preventing future acts of gun violence. Stricter gun laws may not prevent future mass shootings. “Gun legislation is not effective at keeping guns out of the hands of a dangerous individual before an act of violence occurs, and the mental health system has failed to identify those individuals who are a danger to themselves or others.” (Wolf and Rosen). “The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 mandated both background checks and a waiting period for purchasing handguns.” ( Hall). It has been found that many mass shooters were able to pass the background checks or obtain guns guns illegally through the black market and individual sellers. It would still be impossible to regulate any registered guns due to the amount of guns in circulation and the fact that it is easy for someone to take the gun from the owner.Attempts of regulating weapons to prevent acts of violence have failed both in the United states and China. China is facing violent acts of stabbings rather than shootings. Three separate stabbings occurred in 2010 in china. to try and prevent future stabbings, the chinese government implemented  a knife registry, executed the person who committed the first event, and trained school personnel on how to detain someone wielding a knife. “Unfortunately, these knife control measures did not prevent a 2012 school knife attack (on the same day as the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings) in which 22 children were stabbed and school personnel had only brooms to try to stop the attacker.” (Hall). China took measures to the extreme hoping to prevent future knife attacks, even going as far as to execute the citizen who committed the first attack. The death penalty is only legal in 31 states, and most mass shooters that are caught are never put on death’s row. China even tried to regulate knives that people bought but the attacks still occurred. Adam Lanza, known for the sandy hook shooting,  suffered from asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, depression, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder but was never deemed a threat to himself or anyone around him. “the mental health professionals who examined Adam Lanza (81) said he was not a risk to himself or to others. Further, Lanza used guns and ammunition purchased legally by his mother.” (Wolf and Rosen, 6). Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, had bought the guns and ammunition legally meaning she passed all background checks. The fact that Lanza was able to obtain his mother’s guns proves that there is not a definite way to completely regulate the guns of an individual.Stricter gun laws have been proven to not be effective against preventing acts of gun violence but other measures such as increasing referrals and funding to america’s mental health system and eradicating the media’s negative mass shooter sterytope may just be the answer.