Maybe it’s the shooting having taken place in Florida, or maybe it’s because it happened a few weeks before the 6-year anniversary of the shooting at my high school, but I’m done with this.
After the Las Vegas shooting, I wrote on Facebook that I didn’t have the words. I was tired of reading about mass shootings and nothing getting done. I’m not tired anymore, I’m angry. And I do have the words.
It’s been 6 years since someone came into my school and killed my principal. 6 years, and yet another school shooting just happened in my home state. This one happened after the Las Vegas shooting, and the one in Texas, the Pulse night club, and Sandy Hook, etc. The other night there was a nationally broadcasted town hall meeting with the students and survivors of the most recent shooting. Someone made the point that after 9/11, they fixed the problem with our airport security. People have to throw away water bottles before getting on a plane, yet 18-year-olds are allowed to purchase assault rifles. Seems like our sense of what’s “secure” is skewed.
People say “Guns, don’t kill people. People kill people.” How about this: “People create tragedy, but guns create mass tragedy.” If someone with a knife walked into a school, they wouldn’t be able to do a fourth as much damage as someone walking in with an assault rifle.
Here’s the thing, I’m not a blissful dreamer who thinks guns are just going to disappear and fix everything. This is America and people really like their guns, and if someone wants to own a handgun for their own protection, technically they have a right to do so. My issue is understanding why anyone, and I mean ANYONE needs an assault rifle. You don’t need it for protection, you don’t need it for hunting, and I mean it says it in the name, these weapons are for mass “ASSAULTS”. This seems like a no-brainer, as a possible solution to these tragedies. There is no reason to sell weapons that are intended for use against mass amounts of people. NO REASON. PERIOD.
People argue that background checks are issued before purchasing these guns. However, there’s something called the “Gun Show Loophole” – because at these events they do not check individual’s backgrounds before selling these dangerous weapons. That’s how the individual at my school purchased an Ak-47 and brought it into our school on March 6, 2012.
Trump suggested putting guns into the hands of teachers to protect students. The problem with that, besides the obvious fact that teachers should not have to carry firearms as a part of their job description, is that shooters are not limited to students. The individual who brought an assault rifle into our school was a teacher. Firearms have no place in a school. It’s a terrible idea, and I cannot believe that FL lawmakers were idiotic enough to pass that legislation.
Guns are weapons intended to harm. Everyone who wants to legally and responsibly own one of these dangerous weapons should be completely accepting of the fact that you need to go through a few hoops to do so. I think there are ways that we can compromise on this issue as a country. Stronger background checks should be enforced (in all situations, including gun shows). It’s a lethal weapon for Pete’s sake. Assault rifles should not be sold in this country, except for military purposes. And anyone who has a history of severe mental illness should not be allowed to own a gun. That’s just asking for something bad to happen.
I’ll end with this. Guns are not a partisan issue. It’s an individual and personal issue. Those who have felt threatened in the past and feel safer with a gun, should be allowed to have one if they go through all the legal and responsible channels. Those who have been threatened by a gun should be entitled to wanting fewer of these weapons available to anyone who wants one. There are ways to come together on this. There are ways to prevent more students from dying who are just trying to get an education. Mental illness is also a factor that has to be addressed, but in tandem with strengthening gun control. We can, and will, put an end to this issue. We just have to meet in the middle.