The Apache Pow Wow

Now is the Time for Stricter Gun Control

Margaret Lin, Staff Writer

On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz took to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He set off the fire alarm using smoke grenades so students would, according to Florida Senator Bill Nelson, “come pouring out of classrooms and into the hall.” For six minutes, he went on a shooting rampage, gunning down students and staff indiscriminately. When the dust cleared, 15 were dead and 2 more died at nearby hospitals. At least another 15 were injured, with some in critical condition. Cruz was later apprehended by police.

This terrible mass shooting left the nation reeling, but it has become just another entry in school shooting statistics. As of Feb. 2018, according to Time, there have been already 17 cases of a gun being fired on a school campus, and four of those cases have resulted in injury and death of people other than the perpetrator. Since 2013, there have been 290 school shootings in the U.S., which equates to about one per week. In a study by two researchers covering mass shootings from 2000 to 2014, the U.S. had more incidents than Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway, and Switzerland combined.

Horrible as it sounds, this should come as no surprise. The U.S. has the highest number of guns per capita. As of 2013, there were about 89 to 100 guns per 100 Americans. That’s around 20 to 30 million guns. Shouldn’t it be common sense that with so many guns there is an increased chance of gun violence? However, even after so many instances of gun violence, the government still refuses to address the issue of gun control policies. Attributing gun violence to mental instability or saying that it’s “too soon” or “not the time” to discuss gun control only allows the issue to fester and grow. If now is not the time, when is?

Even if gun control, or rather the lack of it, is not the cause of gun violence, tightening gun policies has shown to be effective against preventing future violence. Within the U.S., states with strong gun laws, such as California and Massachusetts, have the lowest gun death rates in the nation, while states with the weakest gun laws, Mississippi and Alaska, have the 4th highest and highest gun death rates. This is evident on the other side of the world as well. After the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 in which 35 were killed and 23 injured, Australia’s government banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, buying back and destroying about 1 million semi-automatic weapons. It also passed legislation making it more difficult for prospective gun owners to buy weapons, including a 28-day waiting period, background checks, and a justifiable reason to own a firearm. Self-protection is not an acceptable reason. Australia has not seen a mass shooting in the 21 years since.

In a response to the Florida high school shooting, President Trump offered his thoughts and prayers, saying, “We are here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do.” What he can do is push for stricter gun control policies so that parents, teachers, and students can truly live without fear. How many more potential futures must be snuffed out by violence before the people in power raise a hand to stop it? The time for excuses and finger pointing is over; the time for change is now.

Photo courtesy of LATIMES.COM

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The World Is Our Campus
Now is the Time for Stricter Gun Control