One Year Ago, Tragedy Struck: Why We Need Stronger Gun Laws

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One Year Ago, Tragedy Struck: Why We Need Stronger Gun Laws

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One year ago, on February 14th, 2018, the Parkland Shooting shook the nation.

17 people died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, and an additional 17 were injured.

34 students and staff members. 34 friends, siblings, parents, and children.

And yet, very little has changed.

Since the killing spree started at the University of Texas in 1966, the carnage in schools has continued.

 

And it’s not getting better.

 

Shootings continue to happen, the Columbine shooting in 1999, the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The numbers are adding up, and fast.

Other countries don’t support this kind of violence against their children. The United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Japan have all implemented stricter gun laws, and their gun violence has plummeted.

 

So why don’t American politicians advocate gun control laws?

 

The National Rifle Association (NRA), an anti-gun control organization, helps fund political campaigns for politicians that continuously try to strike down gun control laws, politicians like Richard Burr, a Republican Senator from North Carolina.

 

One politician who has actively advocated and worked against gun control is President Donald Trump. In April of 2017, he told the NRA that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” and that they “have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

Why is the president of the United States making it easier for people to get these dangerous weapons? He even undid a regulation in 2017, placed by former President Barack Obama, that would make it harder for mentally ill people to purchase guns.

 

The regulation would have required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness. Specifically, those that were receiving full disability benefits because of mental illness and couldn’t work, and those that were unable to manage their own benefits, thus needing the help of a third party to do so.

Trump and many Republican politicians are so pro-Second Amendment that they shoot down every law related to firearms that tries to keep citizens safe in the name of protecting people’s right to own a weapon.

There is no issue with people who legally own guns and use them for the right reasons, but the problem comes when people gain them legally and proceed to use them to murder innocent people.

Gun regulation laws need to be put in place to keep these people from obtaining these weapons quickly and legally. Laws that make better background checks mandatory, increase the age a person has to be to purchase a gun, and require a permit, and training to handle a gun – similar to the process of getting a driver’s license – would help exponentially to help decrease gun violence.

 

If it makes it a bit harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns, so what?

Is it really worth the lives of those seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, and every shooting that has followed, that you get a gun quickly without any barriers?

 

Things are getting a little bit better though. Bill HR8, which will strengthen background checks, has been introduced to the House. More young people are voting, estimates place 31% of people 18-29 voted in the 2018 midterms compared to the 21% in 2014; that’s a big step up. Locally, Fort Thomas now has a March for Our Lives chapter, a student-led organization dedicated to advocating for stricter gun violence prevention measures.

 

However, while things are getting better, we still have a long road ahead of us.

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