The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

A Persistent Issue: Gun Violence in Schools

Whitney Austin, Co-founder of Whitney/Strong, advocates for the CARR bill on Thursday, January 25th, 2024, in Frankfort.

Shockingly, in 2020, firearms surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death in teens and children. 

This year, 4 school shootings have already been reported. At this rate, this pattern will likely follow the reported 300+ incidents last year. 

So, why do school shootings keep happening? 

The reason for this is that Federal Laws and State Laws differ completely. This is fixed in the fact that some states, like Kentucky, may find certain laws unconstitutional due to nullification. 

Over the last 5 years, Kentucky has had 18 occurrences involving gunfire on school grounds. 

The state currently stands at number 40 in the rank of gun law strength. Out of 50 key policies put in place by the Federal Government, Kentucky only covers 7 of them. 

Despite Kentucky falling onto the lower part of the list, there are still state laws and other precautions to keep schools safe from firearms. 

According to The Kentucky Department of Education: “Kentucky prohibits any person from knowingly possessing or carrying a firearm, whether openly or concealed, in a building, on a bus, or on any other property owned, used or operated by any elementary or secondary public or private school,” which in simple terms means that anyone who claims ownership of a gun on school premises will face substantial consequences. 

Another law, one referring to school-wide shooter drills, states: “The School Safety and Resiliency Act (SSRA) requires a minimum of one hour of active shooter training for all school district employees each year.” This law ensures schools implement a strong plan of action and that everyone in the school is prepared if a situation arises. 

Since these laws are the bare minimum of gun safety, gun violence is still and most likely will continue to be a major issue in schools across America. However, many states, including Kentucky, are progressing toward real change. 

Currently, Kentucky legislators are trying to pass a bill CARR (Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention Order) that would allow law enforcement to temporarily take away firearms from a person who is experiencing a crisis. At least for a period, this law would make sure that the people around this person are safe.

Earlier last year, the governor’s race was also a place for commanding change. 

During the Governor’s race in the fall, Andy Beshear guaranteed to carry out his new plan for public safety, which included raising for state troopers and support for more law enforcement training. 

After his occurrence with a gunman, Beshear stated, “Everyone should be able to defend themselves and their family,” He continued expressing, “But I’ve now understood, seen and felt what it’s like to lose someone you love and care about in this city to gun violence.”

These words illuminated the urgent need for improvement, especially when incidents like these can impact anyone, even those close to you. 

As lawmakers direct the public through the unpredictable future of gun violence in schools, every step they take should ensure that students can thrive and grow without worrying about the fate of tomorrow.

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    Jeanne BuringFeb 7, 2024 at 6:36 pm

    Great article on a very important issue!!