By Kimberly Edwards
Shrieks. Racing thoughts. Anxiety gushing through acidic veins. The faint beating of faltering hearts. That’s the ambiance of the classroom when a deadly shooting starts. Kids, children, teenagers all eager to learn and get to that point in their life where they hold a degree, are racing through hallways, searching for shelter, shrinking down to their knees, kissing the floor while trying to breathe lightly, light-headed and almost unable to breathe. Waiting for a shooter to finish playing god. It’s difficult to imagine the horror of being trapped in a facility and to hold this constant fear daily that at any time during a school day a classmate could become a shooter, or an outsider may walk in with heavy artillery like an AR-15 and attempt to annihilate everyone in sight. Authorities need to realize is that in order to eliminate these mass school shootings they must tighten gun control legislation, improve school security measures and practices, and lessen the NRA’s power over politicians.
America is ranked 31st in the world regarding the rate of deaths due to gun violence. Eight times higher than Canada and twenty-seven times higher than Denmark (Aizenmen). The first issue is the availability and accessibility of obtaining a gun. Even though guns may be used for hunting and could be the reason an eighteen-year old buys one, doesn’t mean that age is appropriate for purchasing a gun. If young adults have to be 21 years old in order to take a sip of alcohol, then that age or later would be more appropriate for being able to buy a gun.
Lawmakers need to implement age restrictions on gun purchases, require comprehensive background checks and a professional, psychiatric evaluation, as well as making a new policy that requires yearly psychiatric evaluations for gun owners to be able to keep their licenses. Semi-automatic guns should not be on the market at all. There should also be laws in place that will confiscate these guns in circulation, and fine any AR-15 or semi-automatic weapon carriers, who refuse to sell their guns to the government, then confiscate them. Legislation must be in place to prevent more superfluous, gun-related deaths from occurring.
While legislation will definitely limit the accessibility to guns, it is still necessary to heighten or institute security measures at school. Instead of only being reactive when a shooting occurs, proactive federal laws should already be in place to prevent shooters from getting access into schools. Every school needs to be well-equipped for the possibility of a shooting. Firstly, there needs to be metal detectors at every entrance of the school to immediately stop anyone from sneaking a gun into school. Secondly there needs to be armed security guards at the main entrance and within the building, patrolling the halls during the day.
These guards should be former police officers or have gone through police training. This will serve as a watchdog function and not only be a way to stop a shooter but also warn the school in advance to lockdown before any shooting starts. Along with metal detectors and guards, there should be bulletproof glass around the entrance and secure gates that can block hallway entrances when necessary. If the federal government would increase the education budget and pass a federal law that would require schools to follow this protocol, it would be more difficult for a shooting to occur and make schools safer for children.
Ultimately, even though tightening gun laws and enhancing school security would help prevent shootings, the major opposition to this progression, the NRA, has the power to sway legislators, lawmakers and politicians by giving donations or bribing those in power to keep gun laws light and ensure that gun ownership and sales increase. The NRA is only concerned with profit and will spend enormous amounts of money to ensure that they will have the freedom to continue selling guns without restriction. In order to combat this corruption, there needs to be federal laws preventing the NRA and other corporations from donating to politicians, congressmen, lobbyists, and legislators.
If any potential candidate for office or someone involved in the political processes accepts any money, they should be fired. To help reduce the power of the NRA, corporations should be given federal tax deductions for eliminating any NRA discount programs and the ones whom refuse should be forced to pay a fine monthly. If the NRA’s power was dismantled then it would be easier to pass tighter gun legislation and stop their influence over aspects of the government.
Overall, gun availability, lack of strict gun laws, primitive school security, and the NRA’s influence are all factors that promote gun violence and increase school shootings. The only way to stop these factors is for the federal government to insist gun legislation reform, require stringent school security, and block the NRA from bribing politicians and in turn influencing the legislative process. Instead of treating guns like a right every American is born with, make it a privilege that can be removed due to any violation of gun laws or restrictions.
The only way for this major reform to happen is for the population to begin to protest against the government if change doesn’t occur. Instead of treating every amendment as if it can’t be altered or improved upon, they need to adjust the second amendment accordingly, in order to save lives. Children should be born with the right to live, not the right to own excessive gun weaponry that can be used to commit mass murders. Americans need to think about the importance of preserving the future generation, instead of preserving ancient amendments that are not conducive to this country’s values or progress.
image source: Pixabay.com