OUR VIEW: Gun laws must change in wake of school shooting

Today, seventeen students woke up, said goodbye to their parents and went to school. They were probably stressed about tests and upcoming college acceptances, giddily talking to their friends about who they should ask to prom. Yet in what should have been one of the safest, most nurturing environments for these children, they were slaughtered.

No one will be talking about it in a week.

We know this because no one is talking about Las Vegas anymore. No one is talking about Sandy Hook. No one is talking about Orlando. We, as a country, knew that this was coming. We waited, inactive, bracing for the next headline, the next body count. It has come, and because of our shameful negligence, their blood is on all our hands.

This editorial board called for change a few short months ago in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. We called for a shift in the way we think about guns and gun violence. We proposed common sense legislation that would not infringe upon anyone’s Second Amendment rights, but would make sure that we fully took into account the deadly power of modern-day weaponry and the responsibility that comes with it.

What we called for was important then, but it has a special poignancy after the lives of innocent children have been lost. Schools have long been, and should continue to be, some of the most trusted and valued places in America. They should be places of growth and friendship for young people, where the most pressing issues on their minds are algebraic equations and historical figures.

Yet, a shooting has happened at a school in America every three days since the beginning of 2018. Parents should not have to worry if they will see their child again when they get on bus, and kids should not be having discussions on who they think would be the most likely to shoot up a school. If we continue to ignore the scourge of gun violence happening in our schools, this will continue to be the case.

Too predictably, many will argue that stricter regulations on guns will not end gun violence, and this Editorial Board completely agrees. And while we hesitate to quantify the exact effects that our propositions would have on gun violence statistics, we also assert that even if these policies only to prevent one mass shooting, even one death, they would be worth enacting.

Law-abiding gun owners should not fear or protest these more stringent licensing and restrictions. They will still be able to purchase and own guns, albeit with slightly more hassle. It is not outlandish to suggest, though, that a child’s life should take precedence over their convenience.

However, it seems that the debate, and even this editorial, are almost completely pointless. Maybe it became pointless in 2011, when we saw the tears and anguish of the parents of 27 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary and did nothing. Children have a special place in the human heart, yet even their lives being ripped away from them at the tender age of seven could not prompt us to attempt making access to guns more difficult. What is to make us think that the violent deaths of 17 teenagers will elicit any different reaction?

This Editorial Board is deeply tired of writing about what needs to change to prevent gun violence. We are comprised of liberals and conservatives, current gun owners and future educators. We agree on the changes that Americans must make to prevent these tragedies. We hope that others can too, before the next bullets fly.

Our View represents the consensus of the CW Editorial Board. 

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