School Shooting

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Sandy Hook Elementary memorial twelve days after the shooting

We live in a society where school shootings, once considered a tragedy of the utmost importance, is now commonplace as the frequency increases drastically. A shooting recently occurred at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California where two students were killed and three were injured by a sixteen year old gunman who then killed himself. This follows a string of school shootings that have been majorly documented, most notably including the infamous Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. These constant senseless acts of violence, along with countless others, begs one major question: What have we done in response?

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a school shooting is defined as, “An incident that occurs on school property when students, faculty and/or staff are on the premises. Intent during those times are not restricted to specific types of shootings. Incidents that take place on or near school property when no students or faculty/staff are present are not considered.” Just in 2019, there have been over 40 school shootings across the country that fit those parameters and over the years many people, both students affected by the shootings and politicians, have argued for a needed change in archaic gun laws. Most of the changes include stricter background checks when purchasing guns and better regulation of ammunition, some even calling for the complete recall and banning of all guns in circulation. 

“The right to bear arms . . . does not and never will overpower the individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said 2018 Parkland school shooting survivor Florence Yared (CNN).

However, their stance has received heavy criticism from those in favor of keeping true to the second amendment that guarantees their right to bear arms. The National Rifle Association, a gun rights advocacy group, blames school shootings not on the guns themselves, but other issues such as mental issues, lack of school security, and most surprisingly video games. In 2017, President Trump signed a bill that revoked a previous ruling that placed mentally ill individuals on the national background check, making it easier for them to purchase guns. It is important to note that the NRA donated over thirty million dollars to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.