It is high time to amend gun laws

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by Kate Emmanuel, Co-Multimedia Editor America was shocked once again when within just 10 days, two mass shootings occurred in two different parts of the country. On May 14, an 18-year-old man shot 10 people dead and left three injured in what has been described as a racially motivated attack at a grocery store in...

by Kate Emmanuel, Co-Multimedia Editor

America was shocked once again when within just 10 days, two mass shootings occurred in two different parts of the country. On May 14, an 18-year-old man shot 10 people dead and left three injured in what has been described as a racially motivated attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. On May 24,  another 18-year-old gunman opened fire on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 21 people in the deadliest school shooting in the United States in nearly a decade. 

Shootings have become a regular feature of news coverage in America because they are so common. In fact, in the 148 days of 2022, there have already been 214 mass casualty events involving firearms. We have become desensitized to these mass shootings which have been qualified by the Congressional Research Service as “multiple, firearm, homicide incidents, involving 4 or more victims at one or more locations close to one another” because they occur so frequently.

In terms of gun legislation, not enough is being done. How can we be certain that our community will remain safe if the legislation that enables mass shootings is not addressed? If we are to seek justice for the lives lost in shootings, we must advocate for change. Thoughts and prayers are insufficient. We must take action. 

Guns should not be prohibited, but they should be more heavily restricted. Ordinary citizens should not be permitted to wield weapons of war on a daily basis. The lethal situations caused by these lax weapons regulations are easily avoidable with the proper limitations.

Other countries are doing a better job with gun regulations than the United States. The National Firearms Agreement is one example of such limitations in action. The Port Arthur Massacre occurred in 1996, where 35 people were shot and killed and 23 others were injured; it was the worst shooting Australia had ever seen. 

Following this tragedy, Australia increased gun regulations through the National Firearms Agreement, which prohibited the possession of automatic and semiautomatic firearms in all but “exceptional circumstances.” Since then, Australia has not seen a shooting like the Port Arthur Massacre, which is often attributed to the National Firearms Agreement’s success.

The only way to truly honor the memories of gun violence victims is to ensure that no family or individual ever experiences their pain again. We cannot bring up our children in a world where shootings are commonplace. Adopting gun control legislation is the most effective way to ensure that no more lives are lost.

Some argue that because the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects the right to keep and bear arms, increased gun regulations infringe upon their rights, but the Bill of Rights is intended to be a living document. It was written 200 years ago, and much has changed since then, including how deadly weapons are today. 

While some are concerned about their right to keep and bear arms, a child’s right to feel safe at school should take precedence. No student should have to participate in active shooter drills, and no parent should be worried that their child could be the next victim of a shooting. The other day when we were discussing the shooting in Uvalde, Texas in my history class, my teacher started the discussion with a touching sentiment. She explained that she hopes when her students walk into the school building, they each feel like they are at their home away from home. Home is a place which promises safety and security, and as such, it is vitally important that students feel this way at school.

The best thing we can do as students is to demand that our legislators amend current gun laws. Call and email; be persistent in expressing the desire to feel safe in school. Instead of reacting to these horrific situations after they occur, we must be proactive in order to prevent future tragedies.

 


Kate Emmanuel can be reached at [email protected]

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