Monroe needs to put people’s safety first

Zoe Sissac

Monroe has become the latest victim of rising gun violence, earning the nickname Gunroe. And just weeks ago, the Pecanland Mall experienced a shooting.

As shootings become more and more frequent, it calls into question the future of the city. No American city—especially a college town—should gain notoriety for its gun violence. To protect its citizens, the local government needs to step up and implement better policies and safety practices involving firearms.

According to the CDC, Louisiana experienced 1,183 gun-related deaths in 2020. Louisiana ranks 13th in the nation, having one of the highest gun mortality rates.

Monroe, one of the most populated areas in Louisiana, is a significant contributor to these statistics. As reported by The Center Square, there were 2,969 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Monroe in 2020, giving Monroe one of the highest homicide rates in the U.S.

Louisiana has a lax approach when it comes to restricting firearms. According to the United States Concealed Carry Association, consumers are not required to submit permits, registration or background checks when privately buying firearms. Guns can be openly carried by citizens over the age of 18 once purchased.

While passing state legislation may be difficult, cities can take action to prevent local gun violence. Yet Monroe’s gun laws and security measures have stagnated recently. The city government will not act in the best interest of its citizens. Instead, guns still are prioritized over the lives of Louisianans.

Gun violence can be reduced by adding more preventive measures, such as increasing access to firearm education, expanding security measures and having quicker emergency responses.

Monroe organizations offer courses for concealed carry training and the proper use of firearms. However, there is a lack of educational resources targeting the youth. If schools provided gun violence education, children could learn about the potential risks of firearms. Emphasizing the importance of safety through gun violence education is necessary.

Enhancing security around public places would also contribute to lower gun violence. Increased public security would help to deter mass shootings in popular Monroe areas, such as near the Pecanland Mall or ULM’. Security and police trained to diffuse and react to a situation appropriately could provide an immediate response to the threat effectively and safely. Their presence would quicken response times, lessening the catastrophic effects of shootings.

Monroe must take action to prevent future shootings. Until the laws change, shootings will only increase in frequency and fatality. We cannot simply let our city become another statistic. We must make the changes needed to protect the people of Monroe.