When it comes to mass shootings, many people, including myself, think “it will never happen to me.” However, after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, only 14 hours apart, this belief of safety has begun to wane. Of course there has been more gun violence since those incidents. Domestic abuse, interpersonal violence on neighborhood streets, disgruntled employees, has all led to death by gun violence since these tragedies. Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed by guns. This is not to say that people should not own guns or that the ones who do are bad people. I am close with many gun owners, including members of my own family who are proud gun owners and hunters. It is not these people, these people who own guns responsibly, that are the problem with gun violence in the U.S. The problem is that guns are coming into the hands of people that should never have had them in the first place. That is why I am calling on U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to raise support in Congress for universal background checks, Senate Bill 42. In states that have instituted background checks, 47% fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners and there is a 47% decrease in suicides. As a student of Emory & Henry College in Southwest Virginia, I want to believe in the safety of my community, friends and family. That belief has been shaken. I ask Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to reach across the aisle and make the gun violence issue a bipartisan one.

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