Policies for gun restrictions are a necessity for our nation

Jacob Gottesman, Staff Writer

Though many shootings have taken place over the years, the Parkland shooting had a different effect on the country.  Protests demanding stricter gun control laws are on the rise, and students across the country are voicing their concerns.

“You adults have failed us by not creating a safer place for your children to go to school.  So we, the next generation, will not fail our own kids.  We will make this change happen.  If not today, then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, next year.  Take it from us.  You created a mess for us, but we will make this world safer for our children,” said Stoneman Douglas junior Florence Yared.  

At this point, students have decided to take up the cause of gun control themselves as they extremely dissatisfied with the progress that has been made in Washington.  The victims of the Parkland shooting have started a movement that is taking off across the country. 

“We will not stop until we feel safe in our schools,” said senior Sarah Gottesman.

While people may differ on how far gun control should go, there are some basic restrictions that most can agree must be passed.  Thorough background checks are essential to make sure that no one with a mental illness or criminal record possesses a firearm of any kind.

“There should definitely be strict background checks,” said freshman David Weiner.

Age restrictions are also important.  Why should someone who isn’t allowed to drink be able to own a gun?  Moreover, banning and semi-automatic rifles, in the event of a shooting, would also dramatically lower casualties in horrific events such as mass shootings.  The power of an AR-15, for example, is simply far greater than what is needed to protect the home, or even to hunt.  Semi-automatic guns have no place in a functional society.

Red flag laws allow police to temporarily take guns away from people who have been determined by a court to be dangerous, usually after a family member or an acquaintance raises alarms.  However, these laws only exist in a few states such as Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington, and Oregon.  Nineteen more states are now considering a bill for these laws, but the passing of these is not definite.

Statistics show the correlation between the number of guns owned in America and the number of mass shootings that occur here, and how these numbers differ from other nations.  Americans own nearly half the guns in the world.  According to CNN commentator Kara Fox, Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population, but 31% of the world’s mass shootings take place on United States soil.  These numbers have prompted citizens to criticize the current policies in place. 

“If you aren’t a cop or a trained military soldier, you should not be able to own a gun,” said Ms. Marla Ezratty.

A common misconception among pro-gun rights Americans is that all those in support of gun control want to take away all guns.  Although some do feel this way, many people simply want tighter legislation to make sure guns do not end up in the wrong hands.  People who oppose gun control often argue that mass shootings would happen whether or not we have laws restricting gun ownership.  They claim that if a person wants to kill, they will find a way to do so.  

However, after a mass shooting in 1996, Australia passed strict gun restrictions, and there have been no mass shootings in that country since.  Gun restrictions have an effect and would surely save lives if they were placed in effect in America. 

Many teenagers think that they can’t do anything about this issue.  While I understand the hopelessness they feel, I believe that young people are the only ones that can make a difference.  By having joined in on the school walkout on March 14, attending the March For Our Lives on March 24, or contacting your representatives, students can push this issue forward and finally stop the killings that have become so common.

With a mass movement by students across the country there will be change. There is strength in numbers.

“The faces you see all over the media are not the only members of this movement.  If you are willing to help to make a change, you are also a member. Simple as that,” said Stoneman Douglas junior Morgan Williams.