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Why have there been 8 school shootings in 2018?

Feb 19, 2018
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With only 45 days into the New Year, there have reportedly been 8 school shootings since January 1st. And since the tragedy that happened in Parkland, our own backyard, it’s important to have an introspective look as to why this happened and the measures we could take to prevent this again. It has some asking for Congress to tighten gun control measures, which Congress has been hesitant to do in the past. Before we look at the reason why they’re hesitant, here’s a look at current Florida gun laws.

 

You don’t need a permit or license to buy a gun, nor do you have to register a firearm. You don’t need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time because Florida doesn’t regulate that either. Gun sellers don’t have to get a state license to sell firearms. The Giffords Law Center, a gun-control advocacy group that tracks firearms legislation, gave Florida an “F” grade for its gun laws in 2016. In fact, Florida is known for being one of the states with the least restrictions on guns. So if the gun laws are so unrestricted, that a 19-year-old can acquire an AR-15, why doesn’t Congress do anything about it? Well, a few reasons. During a recent poll on gun control, 79% of Republicans favored protecting gun ownership rights over limiting gun access. That compares with 20% of Democrats who felt the same way. Statistically, 1 percentage point more Americans said they leaned more toward the Republican Party than the Democratic Party on gun policy. Why would Republicans change their view on gun control if the majority of Americans agree with them?

 

Another reason would be that gun advocates are much more passionate about their opinion than pro-gun restrictors. Americans who favor loosening gun laws have been 7 points (22% to 15%) more likely to contact public officials than those who favor stricter gun laws. So, even if some congress members were interested in stricter gun laws, they would still vote differently as gun rights advocates are more likely to make their voices heard.

Now, The United States is one of the few developed countries that still allow their citizens to carry firearms. However, some incorrectly assume that gun control means taking away all guns which don’t necessarily have to be the case. Japan, for instance, has a population of more than 127 million people yet yearly has an average of 10 gun-related deaths. How did they do it? They didn’t do it by outright banning guns. No, they simply just make it harder to get one.  You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a score of at least 95%. There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too. And as well as having the power to deny gun licenses, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.  Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored – and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your license runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again.

Oh, and handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

While thoughts and prayers are appreciated, those alone will not save our crisis. We as people need to change something, because obviously the current way we handle situations like these, does not work. We cry, we send our prayers, we mourn the deaths of the ones we lost. And then, we continue, without change, until the next situation will arise where we repeat the cycle. Thoughts and prayers won’t save the next incident similar to this. Reform and change will.

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