From a Nation to Lawmakers: ‘Shame on You’

Thumbnail: Monica Herndon/ The Tampa Bay Times

When an armed man shot and killed twenty elementary school students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, the city of Newton, Connecticut and the rest of the world were rattled and saddened. It was within everyone’s power to build a solution that would end the type of violence that killed those twenty children.  

Almost eight years later, over 200 more school shootings have occurred. Almost eight years later, and the same question arises: how many more people will have to die for some action to take place?

Photo: statista.com

All of these shootings occurred on school grounds, whether in classrooms, cafeterias, parking lots or sporting events. The most recent took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which seventeen people were killed and fifteen more sustained injuries. This tragedy happens to be the eighth and largest school shooting since the beginning of 2018.

 

This act of terrorism has embedded rage, fear and sadness within the hearts of many. Students all over the nation have expressed their feelings by protesting the loose gun laws that are in place across the United States, including students from Stoneman Douglas.

Photo: USA Today Network

Florida, with an age minimum of 18 to purchase a rifle and 21 for a handgun, is said to be one of the weakest states when it comes to gun laws. The 19-year-old shooter involved in the Florida massacre could obtain a legal assault rifle years before being allowed to purchase a bottle of alcohol. He could legally possess a dangerous weapon despite his prior disciplinary and odd behavior.

 

All of the red flags displayed were not enough for his ownership of guns and rifles to be terminated, possibly because of the argument that it would violate the Second Amendment. But of course, the Second Amendment, which was added to the Bill of Rights in 1791 and created years before the invention of current weapons, is of more value than the lives of our youth.

Photo: Palm Beach Post, Greg Lovett/The Post

The plea for gun control has been going on for years. Over 30 percent of Americans believe that gun laws will not affect mass shootings because gun laws do not mean the government will confiscate every gun. However, what is not understood is that gun laws will limit the access criminals and individuals with mental illness have to guns. With added gun control, mass shootings and homicides could decrease by roughly 59 percent, saving the lives of thousands of people annually. These statistics have been seen in several countries that have limited the access to guns, such as Canada and Australia—Australia has not had a mass shooting in over 20 years.

 

Accepting a plan to enforce and evolve gun laws is in no way denying that mass shootings will completely cease to exist, but decreasing the chance of them occurring is the first step that must be taken to protect this nation’s children.