A shooting at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon Oct. 1 became the most recent and most severe of the more than 40 school shootings that have occurred in the United States in 2015. 

What happened in Oregon?

Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26,  opened fire around 10:30 a.m. PST at the 3,000-student college’s Snyder Hall. According to CBS News, Harper-Mercer, who graduated in 2009 from the Switzer Learning Center, a school for people with emotional issues and learning disabilities, maintained a blog in which he showed an interest in mass shootings. 

In other online profiles connected to Harper-Mercer, he implied that he disliked organized religion. According to a witness account in the New York Times, the shooter asked the victims their religious beliefs before shooting them. 

Give me some background on school shootings

The shooting, which led to the death of 10 people — including the shooter — and injury of seven, continued the national conversation on gun rights and gun violence. Before Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold turned the gun on themselves, they killed 12 students, one teacher and injured 21 others in the April 1999 incident. Since that, there have been more than two dozen deadly school shootings, including the death of 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 and 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Is there legislation to decrease gun violence?

While lawmakers have proposed and battled for increased legislation and changes to prevent gun violence, Congress has only passed one weapon-related piece of legislation — a law in response to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that improved national background checks. 

After the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shootings, President Obama’s gun-legislation overhaul plan to ban certain military-style assault rifles, limit the size of ammunition magazines and increase background checks with gun sales was defeated in the Senate. 

What’s the deal with weapons on Elon’s campus?

Weapons of any kind are not allowed on Elon University property. The Weapons on Campus Policy states, “In efforts to maintain a safe living, learning, and working environment it is the policy of Elon University to strictly prohibit the possession of any weapons on university property or at university related events.  This includes any firearm, even with the possession of a valid concealed carry permit. This prohibition extends to firearms locked inside of vehicle, while on university property.”  


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