Staff Editorial: Enough is enough

A call for greater gun restrictions

January 19, 2023

People can feel worried for gun safety on a daily basis. Many of these people include students all over the country who feel unsafe at school. (Nico Gatten)

280. That is how many more school shootings the United States experienced from Jan. 2009 to May 2018, compared to Europe. American history has been tainted with unfortunate mass school shootings in the last decade and in 2022, the pattern has not broken yet.

With these alarming statistics, one too many students’ lives are lost because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It is time for the United States to reevaluate gun laws on a national scale rather than on a state by state basis as stated in the second amendment. Instead legislators should  consider restricting who is able to purchase a firearm for self-protection.

Europe, having significantly less mass school shootings than the United States, has different gun policies. The European Union only allows licensed gun owners to possess or transfer a firearm, while California allows non-prohibited people of minimum age and holders of a Handgun Safety Certificate. 

California’s gun laws allow an 18 year old to purchase a firearm, so high school students can legally own guns. Furthermore, a Handgun Safety Certificate only costs $25.00, according to Inland Training. With these two simple requirements, high school students may find themselves surrounded by gun owners with dangerous intent.

School shootings are a constant worry on many students’ minds when they go to school. A place where they are supposed to feel safe and be safe evidently makes them feel the complete opposite. In a poll of 550 students conducted by the Crusader, out of 531 responses, 72 percent agree or strongly agree that high school students should be concerned about school shootings. 

A time trends analysis published by the BMJ finds U.S. states with more relaxed gun control laws and higher rates of gun ownership, have higher rates of mass shootings, homicides and suicides by guns. Increased instances of gun violence requires us to look at the laws regarding firearms. The relaxed U.S. laws regarding firearms, demonstrates how easily a person with dangerous intent can purchase a means to carry out their ill intentions. The idea of a person wanting to obtain an automated weapon and use it against defenseless students calls for U.S. citizens to question if the Second Amendment truly benefits them.

Currently, in California, the laws may prohibit open carrying of guns in public and permit lawsuits against dealers selling to people under the age of 21, according to the Office of Governer Gavin Newsom. There continue to be loopholes in this policy.

The idea of a person wanting to obtain an automated weapon and use it against defenseless students calls for U.S. citizens to question if the Second Amendment truly benefits them.

— Maddie Almodovar

These laws do not consider the concealment of guns and the likely possibility of bringing these guns into schools. In addition, it is difficult to keep track of every illegal transaction between teenagers and gun dealers. That being said, it is next to impossible to completely decrease the chance of school shootings happening. 

However, before the actual shooting happens and school no longer becomes a safe space for students, the U.S. government has the task to reevaluate the laws that are meant to protect both citizens and students. It is important to consider, not the complete amending of the Second Amendment for the entirety of the U.S., but implement restrictions and tighter protocols before guns are given out in the public. 

Europe prohibited private ownership of most handguns after the 1996 Dunblane school shooting that killed 18 people. Consequently, there have been no significant school shootings since then. Unlike Europe, however, a core value of  United States nationalism is that firearms provide self-defense when needed. Thus removing complete ownership of guns is not the best solution. Instead, the United States should install a licensing program, similar to how an American obtains their driving license, and enforce background checks.

 A licensing program would require potential gun holders to take classes and go through multiple gun safety tests.  These tests would check for understanding of the intended use of guns and be made aware of the consequences. Similar to the permit and driver’s license tests, people are able to fail and retake the tests until the understanding and practice is safe enough for people to be out in public. The questions may not be simply enough to define whether a person has the right intentions with a gun, but it does create another safety barrier against potentially dangerous gun owners.

Secondly, implementing background checks which look at criminal history, mental illness and disorders and any abusive trauma could be useful in identifying concerns. This would prevent people who have been known to do harm from accessing weapons that kill. 

These are merely two possible solutions, which could reduce death from gun violence and improve the mental state of students while attending school. It is time to take control, since the United States has lost one too many students to gun owners with malicious intent.

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