Gun control and gun violence are words that have been embedded in the nation’s vocabulary since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on Dec. 14, 2012.
The conversation on gun protection has initiated debates across the country, raising questions on how to prevent tragedies like the recent shooting in Newtown, Conn., or the Virginia Tech massacre on April 16, 2007.
President Obama announced a detailed proposal regarding gun policy earlier this month encompassing law enforcement, ammunition magazines, background checks and mental health.
According to a Virginia Center for Public Safety press release, family members of the Virginia Tech shooting supported some of his proposals regulating firearms.
Andrew Goddard — president of the Virginia Center for Public Safety and father of Colin Goddard, a student injured during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre — “endorsed proposals to limit high capacity magazines and ban military-style assault weapons,” according to the press release.
However, in order to execute many of Obama’s propositions, his administration still needs Congressional approval. Nevertheless, Obama’s administration released 23 executive actions that will be taken immediately. Some of these actions include mandating an intricate background check system that would collect information from federal agencies, reviewing laws and acts that prohibits making health information private, and creating a report on the most effective use of gun safety technologies.
A key topic in many of these actions is mental health. Specifically, starting a national dialogue on the subject that would be led by the secretary of health and human services and secretary of education. Such a conversation would include discussing hiring school resource officers and connecting health care providers with law enforcement authorities.
The administration is not the first to initiate a dialogue regarding mental health. The Angel Fund, aimed at “creating an atmosphere of acceptance” in schools, has recently made its mission to assist young people struggling with mental issues.
The Angel Fund was founded in 2007, after the death of Tech student Reema Samaha, who was killed in the April 16th shooting. It originally began by focusing on mental health, campus safety and security, privacy laws, information sharing, and gun laws, according to its president, Lu Ann McNabb.
As years passed, the Angel Fund began to notice the issues young students were facing at school.