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The Gun Control Debate

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It is no secret that the United States has a problem with the devastating amount of school shootings that occurs every year; the number of lives taken and victims affected by such tragedies is far too high. As of February 17th, 2018, there have been a total of 18 school-related shootings this year in America. The Gun Violence Archive states that there have been 30 mass shooting incidents total this year.

On Wednesday, February 14th in Parkland, Florida at the Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the 18th school shooting of the year occurred. A gunman shot and killed 17 people, while 14 others were wounded, 5 with life-threatening injuries. The gunman reportedly used an “AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle” (nbcnews.com).

However, it seems as if these school shootings are happening so often that the public has become desensitized to them, and with every wave of grief and “thoughts and prayers” no action is taken and the tragedy is forgotten until another shooting happens and more lives are lost. It is catastrophic events like the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that spur continued debates on gun control laws and the two sides of wanting more or less gun control legislation.

The pro-gun control supporters generally believe that with more gun control legislation, accidents in the household, suicides, the ability of criminals to gain access to guns, and the overall amount of gun violence and deaths would decrease. However, those opposed to more gun control say that guns are needed for protection, criminals will still find a way to access guns, and that the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.

I sent out several emails to students from all grades at LOLHS to see their opinions on the school shooting crisis, whether or not they support gun control, and how safe they feel in an educational environment. I received only a few emails, most likely due to how it was sent out on the school email and due to the controversial subject matter. I had asked the following questions:

  1. Do you feel safe in this school?
  2. Are you for or against gun control and why?
  3. What steps should the government take in helping reduce school shootings?
  4. Do you feel that there is anything wrong with how the country treats school shootings and/or gun control?

Most of the students said that they felt safe in LOLHS, however, concerns over what would happen if there was an active shooter in the school. Although there have been discussions on what to do when there is a lockdown, the panicked and emotional mind of a student or staff member cannot be 100% trustworthy in following procedures or remembering what to do. One student said: “in a panicked situation I would easily forget those words that were written on the paper, not knowing what to do next. Therefore, I believe that practice makes perfect and that more on-hand procedures need to be done, like lockdown drills so we can ensure that our school can stay safe even in dangerous situations.”

I was also surprised to hear that every response I received was in support of an increase of gun control legislation. One student said that it would be “unreasonable to say that we should get rid of guns completely, people are going to find a way to get them, but stricter gun laws to eliminate mass shootings would be good.”, a second student said: “the unrestricted possession of tools designed only for the harm of others disrupts the necessary peace in our society” while another stated that they were “for gun control because too many people have died as a result of loose gun laws and it is not right. Stricter laws need to be made to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and mass shootings that take the lives of innocent people.”. However, I do know that there are some more conservative and opposing views in our school.

When asked what the government should do to help reduce the number and severity of school shootings, most agreed that more needs to be done. One student recommended that we keep an eye on children and tens that may be troubled and try to help those who may show types of behavior indicating that they could potentially commit a violent act. Others advocate for more restrictions and precautions, such as: “extensive and drawn out background checks, a rigorous safety course and test for all people buying guns, a wait period before acquiring purchased guns, smaller ammunition clips, regular tracking of gun owners’ activity, purchases”.

Several students stated that “We need action”. One response said: “I feel that the government doesn’t talk enough about gun laws and gun control. They should spend more time discussing what could do to prevent school shootings, rather than just acknowledging that it happened.” and I very much agree.

These are just a few of the many opinions and outlooks of students, here, at LOLHS. Again, I do not feel that the responses I aquired accurately represent the entire school population in their opinions on gun control, and there are certainly more contrasting opinions here, but I did not receive any responses from them. I encourage you to do your research on the topic and stay up to date on the movements of pro and anti gun control legislation in the United States.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

“There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year: Everytown.”

http://abcnews.go.com, abcnews.go.com/US/18-school-shootings-us-year-group/

story?id=53091125.

“17 killed in mass shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida.” www.nbcnews.com, www.nbcnews.com/

news/us-news/police-respond-shooting-parkland-florida-high-school-n848101.

fhsregister.com. 2018, fhsregister.com/3924/opinion/gun-control-debate/.
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The Gun Control Debate