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Jacksonville Shooting – What We Know and How It Relates to Us

The mass shooting at a Florida video game tournament resulted in two deaths and wounded 10 others. Jacksonville Sheriff said David Katz attended the “Madden NFL 19” video game tournament and carried out the shooting before turning the gun on himself.

What we know about the gunman:
Obvious signs of mental illness.
Prescribed anti-psychotic drugs since a child.
Hospitalized twice for mental illness.
Spent weeks in mental health facilities yet still bought guns legally.

In court documents, the family psychologists warned that Katz “could lash out and become so angry that he would hit and hurt his mother.”

The gunman had access to purchase two handguns in Maryland.
The state law in Maryland requires a report of background check if the person is declared mentally incompetent by being admitted to a mental institution.
According to Maryland law, someone can still pass a background check if they were voluntarily admitted to a mental institution for less than 29 days or if the person was admitted as a minor.

Daniel Webster, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, says Katz treatment plan was not enough to disqualify him from buying firearms.

Mass shooting survivors can suffer from PTSD and heightened anxiety due to first-line trauma. Some of the survivors of the Jacksonville shooting are even suing EA Sports, the host of the gaming tournament, for failing to provide a safe environment. It is much more than the host failing to provide security, this is a failure upon America’s legal and safety defense system against tragedies like these.

“Mass shootings certainly contribute to heightened societal anxiety… it becomes much harder to focus on the facts and create effective solutions… the challenge of every community is to figure out how to keep communicating with each other and create reality-based solutions to prevent mass shootings.”
–Kathleen Smith, PhD

According to Business Insider on June 28, there have been 154 mass shooting in 2018. That is 177 days into the year which means the US has had a mass shooting almost every other day. Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than other causes of death combined. An estimated 11,000 Americans are killed by firearms each year – that total is climbing.

Locally, Tennessee state law says no one is qualified to own a firearm if they have been involuntarily admitted to a mental institution and law does require mental health records be reported to their database for background checks.

However, Tennessee law does not require a background check on the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed parties nor does it regulate the transfer of assault weapons.
Recorded in 2016, Tennessee had the 14th highest rate of gun deaths per capita among all of the states.

What we, as citizens, can do to end mass shootings –
Contact local lawmakers. Find your lawmaker at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
See something, say something!

This is the classic American story about dangerous people acquiring firearms. The vague, non-directed layout that plagues America’s legal and mental health system is going to be the ultimate downfall of society in this country.

About Courtney McCormick

Courtney McCormick is a junior communication major, minoring in professional writing and journalism. She refers to herself as a pug mom and a comedic realist.

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