INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 3, 2015) –- Students from the Christian Theological Seminary gathered downtown Saturday afternoon to advocate for stricter gun laws following the tragedy in Oregon this week.
An active shooter killed nine people and injured nine more at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon Thursday.
“I didn’t want to sit around on my television and wait for another gun massacre to roll around," protest organizer and seminary student, Alex Pittaway, said. “I just felt really shocked and dismayed another gun massacre happened."
Pittaway, an Australian native, came to America to study to be a pastor. He said he's lived through sweeping gun control legislation in Australia and believes it works.
“In Australia, it’s harder to get a gun, it takes longer, it’s more expensive, but in the end it is worth it, because you need training in order to get a gun license," Pittaway said.
Australia changed its gun laws following a mass shooting nearly 20 years ago. The country requires background checks and makes people wait several months to get a gun.
“We need action on gun safety legislation and we are praying for that and protesting for that," Pittaway said. “Christians should be standing up for more gun safety laws. More laws that make it so people that are mentally ill don’t get access to guns,”
However, any significant changes to current gun laws are unlikely in the GOP controlled Congress. Opponents to stricter gun laws argue new gun laws don't stop the root cause of violence.
Several other students at the seminary joined Pittaway in his protest.
“I decided I wanted to take part because I think it’s been long enough," Christian Theological Seminary student, Leah Yen, said. "There’s been enough gun violence in our country and I think it’s been proven what we are doing now is not working and I think it’s time to do something different."
Pittaway said he knows he is fighting an uphill battle and understands that America is very different from Australia, but hopes Saturday's protest raises awareness about gun control laws.