Columns / Discourse / February 21, 2018

It is a gun problem and it needs to be addressed

America counted its 18th school shooting of 2018 on Feb. 14. That means 18 separate occasions when families were left questioning whether or not their loved ones would make it home safe. 18 different days in less than two months where someone was able to enter a place of learning with a gun and kill innocent students and educators.

My heart aches and yours should too. The fact that the man who caused the tragedy was old enough to have his own gun, but not old enough to drink, is confusing. Nikolas Cruz, the school shooter, had many firearms in his possession but only needed one to murder 17 young students. Guns have proven too easy to pick up in America. This problem is more than the person causing the act, it’s about the ability to receive a gun so effortlessly within America. This is a gun problem.

The federal law has different rules for licensed firearm dealers and unlicensed persons. Licensed dealers are not allowed to sell handguns or handgun ammunition to someone under 21 and are not allowed to sell or deliver long guns to someone under 18. For unlicensed persons, the rules are a little more lenient. They are not allowed to sell or deliver handguns or handgun ammunition to someone under 18, but they are allowed to sell or deliver long guns to someone of any age. There is absolutely no restriction to the age — doesn’t that seem a little strange? State laws may differ, but they also become quite lenient, typically because of sports that involve guns.

Where I am from, you know that almost everyone has at least two guns in their house and everyone in the house knows where they are located. It is a common conversation. Children get guns for Christmas. Guns are normal. Something that could kill someone in a matter of minutes is normal.

This school shooting on Valentine’s Day wasn’t rare; it has happened too many times. Guns are everywhere and so easy to obtain. I understand that it is a law, but laws change. America has changed. Guns are causing the incidents to happen so quickly. When a person with such intentions finds a gun, they can act upon their urges. The same incident could have never happened with a knife, not to the same extent. With a stricter gun law, such an incident would be less likely to occur.

In other countries, when guns have been a problem, they have taken action. Yet with our Second Amendment in place, we have stayed still. In other countries you are forced to take several tests before even purchasing a gun, while in America, you can get one in about 20 minutes. It doesn’t make much sense why something so incredibly dangerous is so easy to get your hands on.

There may not be a clear set of actions that should be taken when addressing gun control, but something needs to happen to stop people from scaring kids away from school. Schools are closing down because of fear. People are terrified to send their kids each day. Education should not be something fearful and schools should be a place where people are excited to go and learn. These kids are right where they are supposed to be; it shouldn’t be this easy for something so dangerous to enter public places. It is a gun problem and it needs to be addressed.

 

Sadie Cheney

Tags:  gun control gun violence mass shooting

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