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This Is the Gun Control Debate in a Summer of Gun Violence

After three incidents in one week, the gun debate rages on in the US. (AK Rockefeller/Flickr)

After three incidents in one week, the gun debate rages on in the US. (AK Rockefeller/Flickr)

One week. Three states. Three separate gun incidents.

Sound like a bad movie? Think again--this actually just happened in the US.

Thing is, there were probably more than three incidents, too. We're just talking about the three biggies that got media coverage this week after shots rang out in West Virginia, Virginia, and Georgia.

As you've probably guessed, the gun debate is raging right now.

So what happened in each of these incidents? And what are people saying about gun control in the US? Here you go.

1. Holding a class hostage in West Virginia

Town of Philippi, West Virginia, where a hostage situation took place yesterday (Valerius Tygart / Wikimedia)

On Tuesday, a 14-year old student pulled out a gun and held his class hostage in West Virginia.

Luckily no one was shot, but it was a scary afternoon as the emotionally upset gunman wouldn't let his teacher and 27 students leave the classroom. The teacher, Twila Smith, successfully communicated with him until she subtly alerted others, signaling a school lockdown.

Police and the gunman's pastor talked to him and he eventually surrendered. The suspect is now at a local hospital under evaluation.

2. On-air shooting in Virginia

Those killed in Virgina: Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27. (arif_shamim/Flickr)

Two young members of a local news TV crew were shot on live television Wednesday morning.

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were reporting on a local park anniversary when several shots were fired at them and the person they were interviewing.

Parker and Ward were killed almost immediately. Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed, was shot in the back and is now in stable condition.

The shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan, was a disgruntled former employee.

3. Deadly university campus shooting in Georgia

A Savannah State University campus building, near where a campus shooting took place last night (Ammodramus / Wikimedia)

A Savannah State University student was shot to death last night.

22-year old junior Christopher Starks, known as rap hopeful Booley Boo, was fatally shot near the university's student union building. Shortly after, the campus was put on lockdown. The lockdown has been lifted, thought authorities have yet to find a suspect.

How serious is this gun crisis?

Serious.

According to the FBI last year, mass shootings--or gun incidents with multiple victims--have been on the rise in the United States.

The FBI has been particularly concerned with active-shooter situations, which happen when a person is "actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area."

There have been many shootings in America through President Obama's two terms of presidency. In fact, the mass shooting at a AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this summer marked the 14th time Obama has had to respond to a shooting incident during his tenure.

So, how is the gun debate now after this week?

Many are saying we need to talk seriously about America's problem with guns.

Amongst those calling for such conversations are the boyfriend and father of Alison Parker, who was killed on air in Virginia this week.

Parker's boyfriend, Chris Hurst, wants serious change in the country:

"There needs to be some action that is taken out of an event like this--out of an event like Sandy Hook, like Charleston, like Aurora, Colorado ... where these things just don't occur anymore. We need to have a substantive conversation on what is going on in America that is allowing evil to continue to crop up over love? Is it because we are in the media? And the attacker knew this was going to get a lot of play, and here we are again, another mushroom cloud of coverage over gun violence?"

For his part, Parker's father, Andy Parker, is ready to work on gun control in the US:

““I’ve been robbed of a treasure that I will never see again, so the only thing I can do is make something happen where someone else’s treasure isn’t taken--and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop. I’m for the Second Amendment but there has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards in the pockets of the N.R.A. to make sensible laws to make sure crazy people can’t get guns.”

Presidential candidates are chiming in.

Many are just calling for help and for people to care.

Others are proclaiming their right to arm themselves, often invoking the Second Amendment, which pertains to the right to own and hold a gun.

People are distraught, upset, and frustrated with the situation America is in.

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This Is the Gun Control Debate in a Summer of Gun Violence

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a freelance international news reporter, having contributed to The Atlantic online and Mic. He's worked at CNNMoney, the New York Daily News, and Voice of America. Patrick loves tweeting, reading, and grabbing coffee in either New York or Washington D.C. Tweet anything on politics or world conflict to him! Follow: @patrickdehahn.

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