The Issues Surrounding Gun Violence

School Shooting in Parkland, Florida Leads to a Newfound National Awareness of Gun Violence

Melina Scott, Head Writer

Less than two months into 2018, tragedy has already struck yet another American school. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida fearfully huddled in classrooms or ran from the school if they had the chance as Nikolas Cruz, 19, fired at his former classmates. Horrifyingly, Cruz killed 17 people with an AR-15 before he was captured and arrested.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings have become more common. According to the New York Times, there have been 239 shootings since Sandy Hook in 2012, and more than 400 people have died in their classrooms and hallways because of these events.

Every time a school shooting occurs, the nation sends their thoughts, prayers, and Facebook likes to those who died or were injured. But with the Florida shooting, this empty response is ending. Students across the nation are walking out of their schools in protest of these shootings, and talk of gun restriction has floated in and out of the mouths of those all around the nation. Unlike previous shootings, when the nation seems to pay its respects and then quickly move on, people seem ready to push for a real change in policies about guns and those who receive them.

The more conservative view towards the issue is, generally, that guns shouldn’t be taken away, but rather more defended and given to people only after thorough background checks. This perspective also supports arming more on-campus people with guns, whether it be teachers or on-campus police guards. In this view, guns also shouldn’t be taken away so that Americans have, especially in places like Montana, access to weapons for hunting, and more importantly for home (and school) protection.

Conversely, the more left-based side towards this argument seems to be that we certainly should not arm teachers, and that guns should be in much more of a restriction and, in some arguments, even banned. This arguments favors the fact that, if we ban and take away guns altogether, there won’t be nearly as many guns available for things like firing in a high school.

Both of these arguments certainly make interesting and intelligent points, but the difficulty behind this topic is how the United States government and people goes about this process. It’s a fairly certain idea in most American mindsets that guns definitely need to be at least more strictly regulated, but many questions come to mind: where is the line drawn at a firearm that can be had at home? What kind of background checks are necessary? And, most importantly, how could we more effectively prevent not only school shootings, but shootings altogether? Furthermore, it would be extremely difficult to regulate guns at a national level, but is it a struggle that we as a country are willing to go through to help save lives? We would hope so. It’s imperative that America finds out solutions to these problems, and quickly; violence in only increasing, and the time to act is now.

Despite these pressing questions that we may not have concrete answers to presently, the nation has been more active than ever in advocating against gun violence. The Douglas High shooting was a tragedy, but also hopefully a gateway to the visibility of these very real issues in a clearer light; a light that we as a people and the government will be able to see and, hopefully, address.

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