Guns: What’s the Real Issue?
Published: March 16, 2018
In light of the walkouts on March 14, two FHN publications students discuss their opinion of what the real issue at hand is when it comes to our nations use of guns.
A Deeper Issue
There are many lessons that people learn as they get older, one of these being that there are always two sides to every story, argument, or article. This is especially true when it comes to the highly debated subject of gun control in our country. No matter what side of the spectrum one falls on, people can agree that there is a deeper issue in our nation and that changing gun control laws will, at best, only place a temporary bandage on a widespread epidemic. This is not a divide of Republicans and Democrats, but rather an issue of kindness, respect and mental health.
For people who end up hurting themselves or others, there is a long chain of events that gets them into that mindset. The statistics show that the people who have these thoughts are the ones who have been judged and excluded their entire lives. These are the students who sit alone at lunch or are constantly being ridiculed on others Snapchat stories. Right now, parts of the nation is blaming guns for the horrendous school shootings, but the root of the issue is why people get to the point of wanting to do this. Mental health is such an issue in our society and we are using a piece of metal as a distraction because it is easier to address.
The proposed changes in gun restrictions involve changing the age to purchase a gun in the US from 18 to 21. Even though it is already 21 in Missouri. This is merely just changing a number on a piece of paper. It is a well known fact that students have the ability to get their hands on illegal things. Take the amount of students who have been intoxicated before. Legally, students are not allowed to drink until they are 21-years-old, yet 15-year-olds have found ways to indulge. This will be the same way if we increase the age that people can buy guns. If a student gets into the mindset that they want to hurt a school, they will find a way to either gain possession of a gun or find other ways to do damage. As a country, we should focus on helping students that suffer from being excluded rather than restricting the ability to own a gun.
In the current high school generation students are so focused on themselves and their close circle of friends; this is the mentality that needs to change, not gun restrictions. So instead of walking out of schools and walking in the streets, go up to the kids who don’t have partners, compliment someone’s outfit, show genuine respect for people. One comment can go further than people realize. This is how we can change the increasing number of school violence in our country, not limiting firearms.
A “Simple” Fix
17 lives lost. 17 friends gone. 17 empty places in a family.
Why are 17 people dead after a shooting in Parkland, FL? Because a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz had access to an AR-15. Why a 19-year-old, or any citizen for that matter, had access to an assault weapon has been a question weighing on the minds of people in the US, especially for the friends and family of the Parkland victims.
Gun control is not a matter of Republican v. Democrat. It’s a matter of keeping the US and it’s residents safe. The US has fallen severely behind in keeping us safe by allowing 18-year-olds to purchase military grade weapons. They’ve fallen behind by adding guns to the problem, because they’ll make the situation “safer.” They’ve fallen behind by trying to arm teachers, instead of just letting them teach. We need to be better. We need to protect the residents in the US. These reasons alone are why we need gun laws.
In the US, you can buy an assault rifle at the age of 18, although in some states the age has been moved up to 21, with little to no waiting period. The gun dealer just has to wait for a background check to clear, which can only take a matter of minutes, and then they can sell the weapon to the buyer, according to Giffords Law Center.
President Trump has said he would support an age increase from 18 to 21 to buy an assault rifle. This isn’t solving anything it’s just going to change the age of these mass shooters. What needs to be done is assault rifles should only be at the disposal of military personnel. There is no reason why any US citizen should have an assault rifle, or armor piercing bullets for that matter.
On Feb. 21, the Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, ordered deputies to carry rifles, including AR-15’s, in any Broward County school they guard, according to the Sun Sentinel. This isn’t a fix to the our nation’s growing issue, it’s another stop on the long road to gun control. In the case of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was an armed officer on the campus who stood outside the building, where the carnage took place, for four minutes without acting. This is a blaring reason why nobody should be armed on a school campus, because, even with a weapon, action might still not be taken.
Also on Feb. 21, President Trump, in a listening session with school shooting survivors and families, seemed keen on the idea that we should arm teachers and administration. Several people clapped back at that session and said the responsibilities on those teachers and administrators would just add more stress to a hard job they already have to do.
The solution isn’t adding more guns to a situation, it’s taking them out. It’s not banning guns, it’s just stricter laws that keep people from purchasing a gun that shouldn’t have one.