Gun control: A serious issue in America


Edward Sherman, Investigative Reporter

In America gun violence runs rampant throughout our society and schools. We live in a society that hears about a school shooting and says “not another one.” The fact that people almost expect to hear about school shootings relays that as a society we are not in a good place.

Students should not come to school in fear. They should be able to come to school and be confident that they will leave the school in good health.

Junior Jordan Hank said, “I’m terrified to come to school everyday knowing very well that someone could walk in at any moment and kill us.”

Fear should not be an emotion that surrounds schools and at the moment students do associate this feeling with schools.

The graph to the right shows that in 2015 there was a school shooting for almost every day of the year. This statistic shows that on some days there were multiple

shootings. On some days there were 5 school shootings. This statistic is abhorrent and shows that there is a serious problem with t

he gun laws we have in the United States.

In each state there are different laws when it comes to gun control. In some states anyone can get a gun with minimal effort, while in others states there are multiple hoops to jump through. These hoops make it harder for unqualified people to get fire arms.

An example of this difference in laws is seen through New York and Texas. According to an

article in The Washington Post, New York is an incredibly difficult place to purchase a gun because of

background checks. In states like Texas you don’t need a permit to get a gun or a background check. In New York you are also tested on your gun knowledge, like how to properly handle a gun or proper gun safety. In Texas you don’t need any prior knowledge and also don’t need a permit to conceal a gun. From these facts we can see that Texas has very loose gun laws while New York has stricter laws.

From this graph, showing shooting incidents at schools since January 2013, we can see that in New York the shooting incidents targeting other people are zero and there are no other incidents.

However, Texas has had 15 incidents targeting others and 15 other incidents. New Jersey and New Hampshire both have strict gun laws and both haven’t had any shooting incidents at schools since January 2013. This data draws the conclusion that there is a correlation between stricter gun control and less gun incidents.

According to a study by Injury Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more access to guns have had more gun related deaths. A review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiological Reviews, found that new restrictions on buying guns and selling guns directly correlated in a drop in gun violence. This data brings up the question, if gun violence is a huge i

ssue, and gun control directly relates to less gun violence, why haven’t all states adopted stricter gun laws?

Senior Talya Matz, said, “I am for gun control. Although we have the right to bear arms, we don’t need them, and they only cause problems. I honestly don’t see the point of owning a gun, be

sides for personal safety, but if people stopped owning guns, we wouldn’t need them for personal safety!”

Junior Carmen Simons also said, “I think that guns are a threat to everybody around them, and while I don’t personally fear a shooting at my school, I do fear for others safety.”

We can see that students think there should be more gun control, so why hasn’t there been any laws put in place?

The reason the federal government isn’t pushing stricter gun laws is because of the NRA. The NRA funds a majority of politicians. These politicians when in office refuse to vote in or accept gun 

legislation. The NRA has been attacked for its stance on looser gun laws and has given one solution to the problem of school shootings.

This solution is to arm teachers. The NRA has brought up this solution time and time again but this solution is combated with many issues. This solution is also not supported by evidence and data. The solution to school shootings is not more guns.

This is not the right solution because having a firearm around a person increases their risk of death. If a person has access to a gun they are two times more likely to die in a homicide.Access to a gun also increases the risk of suicide by three times. Putting a gun in a classroom where a teacher could leave it around by accident or forget it somewhere is not a prudent decision. Gun violence also violates a basic human right which is the right to live and placing a firearm in schools creates an environment where kids do not feel safe. Of all places schools should be one of the safest place a child can be.

Teachers along with students think this solution presented by the NRA is the wrong one. Ms. LaPlante, a mathematics teacher at the NYC iSchool, said: “I would never ever want a weapon in my classroom.”

Ms. Figueroa, a social studies teacher said: “now we’re all aware that there are guns in the school and things could happen, I don’t think you solve gun violence in schools by bringing guns into the schools”

When asked if arming teachers was a solution to school shootings Luke Copley,  a senior said: “No, I do not. I think there’s a very important question about race in there and prejudice teachers might have especially in places like high gun violence like the South where they might call a black child gangsta or say they made a move at them, and I think we’ll see something similar to police violence on the street.”

Mr. Copley brings up a good point. Currently there is a big issue where police are killing people of color for almost no reason at all. If you give teachers the power of who gets to live and who gets to die there could be those couple teachers who would make bad decisions and who are racist. This makes arming teachers a scary option for a lot of people.

Kenny, a sophomore, said: “I think arming teachers is the most absurd idea I have ever heard. Just thinking that my teacher is in possession of a firearm would be extremely frightening and in my opinion is not a solution to gun violence in schools.”

Taliyah Bradford, a senior, had this to say about arming teachers. “No, that is the worst idea possible. More guns is not going to solve a gun issue.”

Students apparently do not think arming teachers is an option. They think that accidents could happen.

When asked about the subject, Georgia, in 12th grade said: “This allows for so many more accidents. What if they can’t use the gun? What is a troubled student gets their hand on the gun. There are endless possibilities of disaster if teachers have guns. It is a waste of resources and money.”

These sources clearly believe that students and teachers do not think arming teaching is a smart idea. When presented with these issues about arming teachers, the NRA misdirects blame to mental illness.

The NRA has blamed recent deadly shootings like the one at Marjury Douglass High School on the shooter’s mental health. They called the shooter an, “insane monster” and said he should not have had access to guns.

While Cruz, the shooter at Marjury Douglass High School, had experienced violent outbreaks he was not diagnosably crazy or mentally ill. The suggestion that mental health is a bigger problem than guns is laughable.

One in five people experiences mental illness, but mentally ill people make up three percent of violent crime in the U.S. This statistic condemns the NRA’s statement about the shooter. In 2015 Michael Stone catalogued 235 mass murders and concluded that only a quarter of the were clearly mentally ill. If 20% of people struggle with mental illness and around 25% of mass shootings were carried out by mentally ill people it seems fair to conclude that mental illness is not a big factor in school shootings.

Contrary to what the NRA has said, mentally ill people prone to violent outbreaks are 2.5 more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the general public. Mentally ill people should not be blamed for school shootings or mass murders because they are more likely to be the victims.

These topics brought up by the NRA are not solutions to school shootings and are not major factors in school shootings.

Enma Quezada, a sophomore said this when asked if mental illness plays a big role in school shootings: “not necessarily only because you can be a completely sane person and still shoot a gun, own a gun, or kill someone, such as officers as an example or any government official, security, or FBI.”  

When asked if she thought mental illness payed a big role in school shootings Jaylyn Padilla, a sophomore at the NYC iSchool, said this: “No, literally anyone can get crazy at a school shooting, just because they’re mentally ill does NOT mean they don’t know what they’re doing. There’s plenty of people who aren’t mentally ill and shooting up schools. Everyone blames mental illness when in reality it’s not only driven by that”

One topic similar to mental health that is an issue in schools is the relationships between students. A student that has been bullied by others is more likely to bring a weapon to school. That weapon is likely to be seen by others. In a survey done in California if a student has a strong relationship with a member of the faculty they are more likely to report that a weapon has been brought on campus.

In order to help deflate the amount of guns and other weapons being brought into schools there not only needs to be a better relationship between students but stronger relationships between teachers and students.

Bart Regan, a sophomore at the iSchool, said this about the topic. “I think having better and stronger relationships between teachers and students will help prevent more school shootings from occuring. I also think that bullying between students is a factor for why we seen more and more school shootings around the United States.”

This will not solve the problem. Instead, we should look at solutions to this fast growing problem that can actually make a difference. One solution that has been brought up is ammunition control.

Ammunition control is one frequently brought up solution to gun violence. This solution states that bullets kill people not guns. The fact that you can buy bullets online in bulk without any questions asked is also a problematic fact. The fact that you can buy bullets in bulk online brings up the question to many whether ammunition control is possible. In short the answer is yes, but is it the solution to gun violence in schools?

Lyden Lapensee, a sophomore at the iSchool, said this about ammunition control. “I do not think ammunition control is a viable solution to school shootings. I think this “solution” is nothing more than an opportunity to keep gun sales up and pretend like a problem is being fixed.”

Izzy Orozco gave her two cents on the matter: “Ammunition control is a start to solving gun control but I think more needs to be done. There needs to be more proactive legislation being approved.”

Banyan Batts said: “Not really. Many of the people who use guns for bad things either attain them illegally, and no matter how much you control people buying guns legally, the people who wish to use them for wrongdoing will attain them illegally.”

All of these quotes show that students think ammunition control is not a long term or even a short term solution to school shootings and gun violence.

Sellers of ammunition can be asked to record all transactions of bullets. In fact this is a very easy task. With advances in technology it is a simple request for all bullets produced to be trackable and registered with the buyer. If this was a law this would limit the amount of bullets one person could have and therefore reduce the amount of lives that one could take. Unfortunately this still leaves us with the issue that guns still kill people and limiting ammunition will not stop that.

A lot of news sources refer to ammunition control as a solution to school shootings and mass murders but this is similar to the NRA bringing up mental illness as a big factor in school shootings. A lot of people also say, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” However, without guns, ammo and people would not be able to kill people.

If we keep ignoring the problem of gun control we would be forced to increase security in schools. Imagine a scenario where every student who walks into school before they sit down for their first period class is searched. They would be made to come in thirty minutes before school starts just so they can get through security reminiscent of the TSA at NYC airports. Instead of just controlling the sales of guns we should search every student randomly at any point in the day without any regard for their fourth amendment rights. In order to keep kids in schools safe we should not have to rely on a TSA like security system.

This scenario is innapropriate and embarasses the rights that we as Americans deserve. Instead of this we could simply make getting a gun harder. Give the average person more hoops to jump through when trying to purchase a firearm. This would make it so teenagers do not shoot up their high schools and there is less gun violence. There is no need for fancy regulations on ammunition or to give people guns in order to combat guns.

Before each sale of a gun the buyer should be cleared by the FBI to not be showing any red flags. At the school shooting at Parkland the shooter had been displaying many red flags. He had posted violent messages on social media about his school and people in it and had said he “wanted to be a professional school shooter”. This big of a red flag should not be missed or overlooked by anyone.

Cosima Kymissis said: “I think schools around the country should do a better job noticing red flags that have been reported by students in the community. This would help prevent school shootings before they even started. The FBI also should have done a better job at noticing these tips before the Parkland shooter was able to get a gun.”

The FBI was even tipped off that this kid was going to do something terrible. There were multiple tips, all of them were ignored. These issues should have immediately disqualified him from purchasing a gun. Instead 17 people died.

There is a simple solution that seems vibrantly displayed in front of all of us: make it harder for adults to buy guns and impossible for minors to buy guns.

Sophomore Bart Regan said, “I think we need more control around who can buy guns what guns they should be able to buy. Looking at the state to which America is in right now we can see something needs to change.”