The Generation to Get It Done: Gun Control

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Brooke Wood, Staff Writer

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 96 Americans lose their lives due to gun violence every single day. That’s 96 daughters, sons, husbands, wives and friends taken away because of a firearm. The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in 17 deaths of both students and faculty, has sparked a push for common sense gun laws in the United States.

The topic of gun control has made its way to Twitter feeds, politicians’ agendas and homes all across America. Though many believe gun control infringes upon the rights granted to Americans through the second amendment, I believe those who have lost their lives to guns have suffered much greater.

Many who believe gun control violates the second amendment often argue that guns are a large part of their family tradition. For many families, guns have always been a part of their lives. I myself have grown up in a family that owns guns for hunting and self-protection, so I understand this point. However, I do not understand when people try to argue that their family hobby or second amendment rights are more important than the lives lost due to gun violence every day.

The majority of those pushing for gun control are not arguing for a complete repeal of the second amendment. Some of the most popular reform suggestions include heavier background checks, waiting periods and making the selling of online guns illegal. Simply making reforms to laws could help keep a gun out of the wrong person’s hand.

In the most recent shooting, an AR-15 was used. “AR” does not stand for assault rifle, it stands for ArmaLite rifle. The guns were not included under the 1994-2004 ban because of some structural technicalities. The AR-15 is a military-grade weapon, and has the ability to shoot 600 rounds per minute. If an AR-15 gets into the wrong hands, it has the potential to take 600 lives away in a single minute. Why does anyone need a military-grade weapon with that much power in their hands? Guns like the AR-15 should be in gun ranges, not in the hands of 18 year olds.

On Saturday, March 24, over 800 marches against gun violence occurred throughout the country. I attended the march in St. Louis, where an estimated 12,000 marched alongside me. The most moving part of the march was the presence of the younger generation. As we were waiting for the march to begin, an 8-year-old girl was interviewed next to me. Her dad explained that she had just had an intruder drill at school, and it was her idea to come march. Though the girl’s desire for change and activism at such a young age is inspiring, isn’t it sad that an 8-year-old is concerned about her safety in school? Shouldn’t kids be able to focus on receiving an education without having to worry for their safety?

The issue of gun violence and gun control is an extremely controversial and hot topic right now; we can grant the popularity of the issue to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Although all of the efforts for common sense gun laws are inspiring, it is sad that yet another school shooting had to happen to get such a strong push for change. Change needs to happen now, before more innocent lives are lost due to gun violence.