The New Dealer

  • December 4December 2018 Edition

Editorial- Stoneman Douglass Shooting Has Changed The Future Of Gun Talks

Melanie Justiniano, Reporter

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On February 14th, at Stoneman Douglass High School in Florida, a mass shooting occurred.  As a result 17 people died, all varying in age. This shooting, once again raises the topic of gun laws. This year alone, there have been 17 school shootings. Ever since Sandy Hook, in 2013, there have been almost 300 school shootings. All of these shootings could have been prevented if people took into consideration proper gun laws.

Nikolas Cruz, the 19 year old suspect of the mass shooting, used an AR-15, a semiautomatic weapon. Cruz was expelled from school, and appears to have a history of mental illness, as well as violence.  The majority of the states where mass shootings have occurred, have lenient gun laws. Also, the suspects of the mass shootings also have a history of mental illness, which exposes the flaws in the background checks often conducted in gun shops. It was reported that while filling out paper work, Cruz checked “no” when asked if he had any mental illnesses. Getting guns really is that easy. As a result of the Stoneman Douglass H.S shooting, the owners of the gun shop that sold Cruz the AR-15, closed down their shop. Mr. & Mrs. Morrison were fraught with fear when they found out what Cruz did, so they’ve shut down their establishment. In Florida, you must be 18 years old to buy a rifle, but 21 to own a handgun. That is absurd, illogical, and ridiculous.

As a result of this mass shooting various groups are blaming each other, for example the NRA blames the Sheriff Department as well as the FBI. The NRA believes that the threats made by Cruz were not taken seriously, and were blatantly ignored. People blame the NRA, which goes against stricter gun laws, and are the reason why the guns are accessible to the common person and advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment states that people have the right to bear arms. The argument justifies their association, but it’s really an idiotic argument. There is no need for this amendment anymore, if anything, guns are causing more problems. There is no reason as to why any common person should have access to semi automatic rifles, that can kill dozens in just seconds. Those guns are not used for protection, they are designed for mass destruction.

The NRA is focused on making money rather than focusing on the safety of the people. Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed  legislation that calls for new restrictions as a result of the shooting.  The legislation raises the age to purchase guns to 21, Nikolas Cruz was 19.  The majority of ‘school shooters’ are under the age of 21, and either purchase their semiautomatic weapons, or obtain them from their own homes. Governor Scott signed the legislation that allows the authorities to restrict who would be allowed to purchased guns. Those who are threats to themselves or others, would be denied access to weapons. The legislation also makes bump stocks illegal, and allows school employees access to guns. How does the NRA react? The NRA chooses to sue Florida hours after the legislation was passed. Why wouldn’t they? They want to keep semiautomatic weapons on the streets, no matter how many die, because they get money out of it. That is why they stop any form of gun regulations in the states, saying it violates the Second Amendment. In this case, the NRA also argues that gun restrictions violate the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment created after the abolishment of slavery, states equal protection under the law. This addressed any discrimination against African American men. The NRA exposes how ambiguous the Constitution and the Amendments are. The NRA takes the amendments created long ago, for different reasons, and manipulates them to show how it goes against the gun rights of the common person. Once again, they really only do it for money, clearly they are apathetic towards the amounts of deaths caused by guns on an annual basis.

The NRA and gun enthusiasts are not only to blame. The FBI and Sheriff Department are also to blame, because once again, they did not take the threats seriously. They had a bias and believed that a ‘kid’ would not do such a thing, despite history proving them wrong. Their ignorance resulted in the deaths of 17 innocent people, people who had hopes and dreams, and a full future ahead of them. The deputy at the school, and the lack of response to the gun shots roaring through the air, are to blame as well. Innocent high school students and teachers sacrificed their lives to save others, even though it was not their job to protect others. Security guards and police are paid to protect the students, the sheriffs are paid to protect the civilians of their towns, and the government is to protect the citizens of America. They are all failed to do their jobs?

Politicians who take money from lobbyists are also to blame. They take money from organizations like the NRA, and promise these organizations protection. They make promises that their associations would not be impacted by laws, thus no proper gun laws are created, because they are in debt to their lobbyists. Americans who vote for politicians with conservative gun law ideologies are also to blame. These people only focus on themselves, even if people die as a result of their gun ideologies. Politicians failed to make proper laws. This was not the first school shooting, or mass shooting, nor will it be the last.

Gun laws should not only be made to prevent mass shootings, but any form of gun violence, including gang violence and homicides. It’s absurd that the national government hasn’t made any previous attempts to prevent mass shootings, long after Columbine(1999).

A gun show was hosted merely miles away from Stoneman Douglass High School, a couple of days after the mass shooting. At this gun show people viewed rifles, semiautomatic rifles, and other types of guns. They were also allowed to purchase guns. This was a slap across the face to all the victims of the mass shooting, and to the families mourning their deceased family members. This exposed the fact that no one in power actually cares. At the gun shows you’re allowed to trade, buy, and sell weapons.  The organization stated that there was no insensitivity behind their actions. How do you host a gun show, days after a mass shooting? Especially, when the show was so close to the school. But no one protested the gun show, which they should’ve.

Trump believes that arming teachers is the solution to protecting students. The NRA backs this decision up (of course) rather than just creating stricter laws. Thus they pledged to create a National Model School Shield Program. Arming teachers with weapons means more money for the NRA, and gun shops. Governor Scott’s legislation includes this solution. This “solution” is extremely controversial. Teachers should not be placed in such a situation. It simply is not their job, their job is to teach students. Secondly, how is bringing MORE guns into schools, solve anything? This only makes guns more accessible for students, more accidents, AND more shootings are prone to happen. This was a bad decision on Governor Scott’s part, and Trump’s part.

Instead of arming teachers with guns, and putting them in a terrible situation, it’s  much easier to make better gun laws. Ban semiautomatic weapons all together, and raise the age to buy any sort of weapon to 21. It’s illogical for someone to have the ability to own guns, but not have the ability to drink alcohol. No one with a history of gun violence should be able to buy a gun, or a history of any mental illness. People should not be able to bring their weapons into other states. They can make their argument that’s it’s their “property,” thus they are allowed to take their “property” wherever they want.  Weapons impose violence, and risk the safety of others. If people worry about their safety, focus on fixing law enforcement, rather than taking actions into your own hands.

Schools should also have mandatory metal detectors. They ensures safety, and makes sure no weapons are being brought into schools. Schools and local school boards should start focusing on mental illnesses.  Nikolas Cruz allegedly heard “voices” in his head telling him to conduct the shooting. Cruz was often described as a ‘troubled teen,’ and as previously stated, had been expelled from school. He reportedly was depressed after his adoptive mother died. In my opinion, guidance counselors focus on classes, paperwork, and other stuff, rather than focusing on their individual students’ mental health. Despite studies showing that mental illness among adolescents, like depression and anxiety is on a rise. Of course guidance counselors are busy, but perhaps hiring psychologists to help students should be an option at schools. Obviously not all schools are the same, and not all guidance counselors are the same, but as busy individuals they do need some back up. Teachers themselves should start focusing on students who appear to be troubled, and try to help. (The NRA itself pointed out that mental illness played a role in the shooting, but of course they wouldn’t take the blame, even though semiautomatic weapons shouldn’t be accessible).

Gun lobbying should also be banned, it creates a bias among politicians and organizations that should not occur. Politicians should start finding funding elsewhere, rather than getting it from organizations.  The NRA’s power over these situations should be eliminated. Creating stricter gun laws does create another problem, though. It could make illegal gun purchasing more common. But stricter gun laws is a necessity, to prevent any gun violence.

Delaney Tarr , Emma Gonzalez, and Cameron Kasky are the most famous for being so militant on social media. Previously their social media accounts were pretty similar to any other normal teenager. After the mass shooting, however, they continuously voiced their opinions on gun laws. They proceed by protesting, hosting rallies, and ‘marching for their lives.’ As a result of their determination the #NeverAgain movement as become nationwide, as they call for school walkouts. Their protests have been successful as they went to Washington D.C, and Tallahassee, Florida. Florida’s Governor and legislature did make more gun control laws, as an outcome. The “March for Our Lives” protest is to take place on March 24th, in Washington. Social media is finally being used for good, and raises awareness to something more important. The teens remain unaffected by hate and critics, as they use humor as a response. They proceed by making a difference, and protesting. The students are making changes finally happen.

The survivors have inspired various high schools (including FDR) as they host their own walkouts and protests. Universities are also embracing the #NeverAgain movement, and allow protests, stating that student admissions would not be affected by their protesting. Examples of these universities are Kenyon College in Ohio and Georgetown University. This movement has inspired students from New York high schools to talk about gun control laws.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who often is cricized for some of his actions, held a meeting with students and discussed stricter gun laws. He allowed students to voice their concerns, and praised the momentum the #NeverAgain Movement is creating. Students critiqued school safety agents, and felt that they were not protecting them enough.

It’s truly ironic that people who can’t even vote are making such an impact on gun control laws. One can only hope that the #NeverAgain Movement succeeds in completing their desires. Hopefully, politicians will come up with better ideas, instead of benefiting the NRA, and putting their educators at a greater risk. Hopefully, states individually will start making a difference like New York and Connecticut, who have taken action against semiautomatic weapons. This movement isn’t something that should be ignored, or be forgotten by the news, because it inspires so many and creates changes. Changes are happening, and should continue on occurring until students are safe, as everyone else. Innocent lives should not be stolen anymore, these events impact everyone, not just victims physically present.

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Editorial- Stoneman Douglass Shooting Has Changed The Future Of Gun Talks