In the aftermath of yet another school shooting, this one particularly devastating with 17 deaths, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have brought the issue of gun control back into the spotlight, pressuring their representatives to support stricter gun laws. While many people have come out to express their support for stricter gun laws, many people have also expressed extreme resistance to gun control. Florida has since begun to create legislation to arm teachers in schools, as well as raise the age to buy a firearm. The bill to arm teachers in schools was limited to require 144 hours of training for staff volunteers that wish to be armed on campus by the Senate, and all proposed bills have yet to pass through the Florida House. Although originally inciting controversy with the proposition of arming teachers, Florida seems to be moving in a positive direction for gun control as bills are moved through the Senate and the House. Here’s the down low on what gun control means, and why you should stand behind the students in the Parkland shooting in support of stricter gun laws.
A common misconception among gun owners is that renewed efforts for gun control are aiming at taking away all of their guns. Gun control is not synonymous with a gun ban. A gun ban is just about as likely to work as the ban on alcohol in the early 20th century that we know as prohibition. Gun control laws would make it harder for the average person to obtain weapons, specifically assault-style rifles, and would require deeper and more thorough background checks. If you are already obtaining your guns in a legal manner and don’t have a reason to be considered too dangerous to own a weapon, the gun control laws should not alter your ability to buy and own guns. It simply makes it harder for those unfit to own guns to get access to them. It is not the legal and responsible gun owners who are shooting innocent people.
UGA student Taylor Potter recounted her experience being given and taught how to shoot a gun at the age of 16 or 17 by trusted family members who “had guns in the house [that were] always locked in a safe.” Despite being taught how to responsibly handle a gun by licensed individuals that taught her safety precautions, she found it concerning that she “never had to go through a safety course or licensing exam to operate and own a gun.” She knows how to handle guns safely because of the people who taught her, but not every young person that gains access to a gun receives the same guidance. If she hadn’t, she could have just as easily used her gun unsafely and with bad intentions. As a gun owner, she finds the lack of gun control in America “absolutely ludicrous” and in support of the movement says that “it is NOT about disarming America, it IS about regulating armed America.”
One argument of those against stricter gun laws is that it won’t stop criminals from gaining access to guns. However, we have laws against underage drinking and drug use, and there is still a countless number of individuals who drink before 21 and who have tried using drugs. Does this mean we shouldn’t have these laws because not every person in the country is going to follow them? Additionally, the guns used for school shootings are not necessarily illegally obtained and that is what stricter gun laws aims to fix. The Parkland shooter did not illegally obtain his gun, he bought it like any other legal gun owner. Then he took 17 innocent lives with it. If something is not done to make it harder to obtain dangerous weaponry, we will have to face the reality of more tragedies like the Parkland shooting, and all the devastating shootings we have seen before it. It is society’s responsibility to keep the lives of its citizens, and especially its children, safe. Join the movement to make America a safer place for everyone.