The Western Hemisphere

Don’t Shoot Down Gun Control

Grace Berigan, Opinion Editor

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It’s become clear in these past few weeks that gun reform is the only sane response to the Florida shooting. Since then, another school shooting has taken place in Maryland- an attack that would be preventable through gun control laws. I don’t see the purpose for guns in a civilized society. If you’re in the middle of the woods alone in a cabin, sure, have as many guns as you want. But it seems like in the 21st century, guns in civilian territories are doing more harm than good.

This isn’t a mental health issue, because no one would have died if a nineteen-year-old with a criminal record hadn’t purchased an assault rifle from a pawn shop. Blaming this shooting on mental health is a weak excuse from republicans to keep their precious NRA funds.The Second Amendment was created during a time when marauders would raid colonial homes on horseback, and times have changed. These days, people are shooting up schools and committing hate crimes and killing innocent people, and certain politicians don’t seem to grasp that.

I understand the desire to feel safe, but acquiring a gun should be more of a process. I believe that gun regulations should become a lot stricter- including mental health screening, annual inspections, and a requirement for the gun owner to contain all firearms in a locked safe. Virginia state law allows for a person at least eighteen years of age to purchase a firearm. However, the human brain stops developing when a person is twenty-five. How can an immature individual be trusted with a deadly weapon?

Gun statistics from  2017 count 15,549 fatalities (not including suicides) and 31,157 injuries. This is twenty five times higher than in European countries. A U.S. civilian is ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than in other developed country. While some are bringing up the second amendment, I’d like to bring up the first- everyone has a right to life. People who are outraged at the thought of the second amendment being changed need to think of this: reform is essential to keep the populus happy. Slavery used to be legal. Women and minorities didn’t have voting rights. This doesn’t mean that we need to follow the same path.

Generation Z, the post millennial generation born after 1996 is increasingly politically involved. According to CBS News, an estimated 800,000 people attended the ‘March for Our Lives’ protest in Washington D.C., and an estimated 1,000,000 high school students took part in the national walkout. This shows how the youngest generation is mobilizing, and more politically active than past generations. Also, this generation is increasingly in favor of stricter gun control and regulations. Though the attack on Stoneman Douglas High School was horribly tragic, it offers an opportunity for the youth of America to speak their minds.

Part of affecting change is cutting off ties with the NRA. Though I believe it is the responsibility of the government to make the most changes, students can take it into their own hands. Boycotting certain businesses that offer discounts to the NRA (according to the Huffington Post), such as Amazon, FedEx, and Delta may be extremely strengthening to this movement. Though this action may seem small, preventing donations to the huge and disgusting monster that is the NRA could possibly save lives.

Despite differing beliefs, many people were horrified by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. The bottom line is that something needs to change. There have been too many shootings, and too many attacks on innocent people that could have been prevented. I want a change, and the only way to make that change is to make this issue political. I am tired of hearing about gun violence and feeling anxious in school about the possibility of it happening at Western. The purpose of having elected officials is to express the beliefs of the people, and a lot of people are fed up.

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About the Writer
Grace Berigan, A&E Editor

Grace Berigan is a junior and this is her third year on the Western Hemisphere. Though she lives in the western hemisphere, she hopes to someday travel...