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The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

Will the Gun Violence Ever End?

Will the Gun Violence Ever End?

A cross country coach, a future Navy Seal, and a swimmer with dreams of the Olympics were among the 17 students and staff killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 5 years ago on February 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, the 19 year old gunman, opened fire in and outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas for an hour. Since the Parkland shooting the survivors have become forces for change, advocating for increased gun control laws in an era where gun violence is more common than ever.James Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University, explained that the rise in gun violence can be accredited to many different factors including the rise in gun sales, high capacity magazines, and the rise in hate since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

In recent years millions of people across the country have advocated for stricter gun laws regarding buying and owning guns. “Republican lawmakers must join with Democrats in Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, pass a national red flag law, enact universal background checks, require the safe storage of guns, and advance other common sense measures that will help stem the tide of gun violence,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following the recent shootings in Nevada and Texas.

In the past year, three states have passed major gun reform laws—including Washington—which just experienced a mass shooting despite banning assault rifles and handguns earlier in the year. These gun reform laws target the minimum age to purchase guns and where civilians are allowed to carry firearms.

Last spring, President Biden signed an executive order with the goal of increasing background checks on citizens who are looking to purchase firearms and increasing the use of “red flags” laws to hold the gun industry accountable.

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An English teacher Ms. Brunk believes that “There should be longer waiting periods to buy guns.” She can’t believe that we live in a country where “Getting a license is more complicated and more time consuming than buying a weapon.” She believes more oversight would help prevent shootings.

“Shootings are preventable and laws should be in place to try and prevent shootings,” Mr. Holloway, teacher and coach, said.

Junior Grace Niebhur believes that there is no set solution for gun violence. “You can’t legally ban firearms because people will start buying unregistered guns through places like the black market,” she said. The country needs to regulate guns opposed to an outright ban of guns, specifically assault rifles.

Despite the country’s improved gun laws, America remains addicted to guns with about 45 percent of households owning at least one gun and the amount of shootings rising every year. A major contributing factor to these statistics is the rise in hate and anger over the years. A common misconception about mass shootings is that the shooters tend to be mentally ill which is sometimes the case but not always; the majority of shooters are motivated by hate and anger towards something instead of being motivated by mental health issues.

Hate crimes have increased by 11.6% from 2020 to 2021. Social media has given extremist groups platforms to promote hate to citizens all across the country. Gun violence is a horrific act of violence that affects hundreds of people every year. Gun control laws like minimum age to purchase guns and background checks have begun to be put in place to try and limit gun violence in America.

With younger generations being strong advocates for gun reform and opposed to a rise in gun violence, more attention is being drawn to America’s gun issues than ever. The more attention gun violence gains, the more people may begin advocating for changes in America’s gun laws.

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