Gun Reform Shouldn’t be the Future; It Should be Now

With the recent Parkland shooting, gun law reforms should be right around the corner. Then why aren’t they here?


Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Since Jan. 1 of 2018, there have been 17 school shootings with casualties. So many lives have been lost already. The loss of others’ loved ones should not be taken lightly. Change should be made now rather than later to save more lives, especially those of children, in the future.

“Gun control” is a turnoff for many people.The words imply that all guns are to be controlled or taken away. Gun reform is a more accurate word to describe what petitioners and advocates are marching for. They wish to reform gun laws and policies, not to control all guns.

In the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the shooter fired over 100 rounds in less than five minutes, using a semi-automatic gun to repeatedly shoot and reload magazines. A semi-automatic assault rifle is unnecessary for the average person. No civilian needs to shoot around 150 rounds a minute, the average number of rounds an average semi-automatic gun can shoot per minute, according to Guns Digest, a gun magazine. Even during hunting season, nobody needs a semi-automatic assault rifle to hunt. If they do, there’s no point for them- they’d scare away all the game.

Arguably, people should hold equal power over their government as their government holds over them. Therefore, people should be allowed to own assault rifles or other military-grade weapons in the case that the military is using force to oppress the people. The main point: the people should hold their own checks over the government, the same way the inner checks of the government work.

Despite so, there is simply no need for military grade weapons. Even active army members aren’t distributed assault rifles unless they are currently training or drilling in an active military base. Reserve officers are not given guns to keep at home when in reserve and only distributed their military rifles when returning to active service. Even active service members stationed within the United States are not allowed to bring their guns home. Therefore, there is no need for the people of America to keep their guns at home either if the military officers and members cannot either.

Currently, guns are easy to purchase. In states such as Florida, guns can be bought as easily as over-the-counter cough drops. According to the National Rifle Association, handguns are given a three-day waiting period when purchasing, which is waived if the buyer has a permit or is trading in another gun. In fact, a person who was convicted of a felon, no matter what it may be, can purchase a gun three years after his or her release. A felon, possibly a past mass shooter, could buy a gun in Florida if he or she were to be released three years prior.

Some gun owners, as expected, are upset at the looming threat of gun reform. They argue that the average gun owner does not have a need to shoot down a school or a hotel in Las Vegas or a regional center in San Bernardino. They argue that mental illness is the cause of the shootings. The average, mentally healthy gun owner would not shoot up a school, hotel or regional center. However, the shooters in the San Bernardino shooting were sane and mentally healthy, according to the Los Angeles Times. They showed no signs of insanity, psychosis, bipolar disorder, multi-personality disorder or any other mental illnesses. The problem with the number of gun shootings in the United States is not the mentally insane. It’s the access to guns.

Only with guns do people have the ability to kill 17 people within minutes. If the only weapon available were a set of kitchen knives, then the potential shooter would only be able to use those knives as his weapon. Even with enough knives to throw from far away, if he were to potentially have the ability to throw knives accurately, he still wouldn’t be able to injure as many as drastically as one with a gun could.

Australia is an example. According to the Library of Congress, Australia has had no mass shootings since 1996. During that year, the Port Arthur massacre occurred, killing 35 people and injuring another 23. In the following year, Australia conducted sweeping gun policy reforms, with a total of 700,000 firearms surrendered. Since then, no mass shootings have occured in Australia.

Despite ample evidence that the issue lays in the access to guns, some continue to argue against gun reforms. The Second Amendment gives us the right, they argue, to bear arms. But the Constitution has been amended in the past and can be amended now and in the future. The Second Amendment was written over 200 years ago and therefore may be outdated. At that time, the guns took up to a minute to load, according the Illinois State Museum. Now, guns can shoot 100-minutes’ worth of bullets in less than 60 seconds, as stated in the Gun Magazine. The times have changed and so should the laws. There is no reason now for men to bear arms that can shoot 100 bullets in a single minute. A shooter should not be able to take so many people’s lives so quickly. A shooter should not be able to hold so much power over the lives of the mundane, helpless and ordinary.

A teacher shouldn’t have to risk his life in order to protect his students. A student shouldn’t have to feel scared to go to school. Students shouldn’t feel scared going to school. Parents shouldn’t go to work after dropping their kid off at school feeling terrified for their child’s life.

Students in schools across America, high schools and colleges and universities alike, have rallied up to protest the lack of change in gun control. In Woodbridge High, the Woke club planned a walkout during break on March 14, the one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, to honor the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting. They hope to bring awareness to the lack of change and the need for change.

Gun reform should no longer be the future. It should be the present.