On December 14, 2012 a young man strolled through the front doors of a Connecticut elementary school and proceeded to open fire on children and teachers throughout the school killing 20 children and 6 adult staff members.
Since then, there have been a staggering 74 school shootings in America. This equates to about one shooting every 9.8 days, yet many gun enthusiasts are saying that the absurd rate of gun violence in our country isn’t due to guns at all. A commonly used analogy used by anti gun control supporters is “If guns kill people then do pens misspell words?” However many disagree with this because without supplying citizens with guns much less damage can be done. It’s evident that gun violence is an issue that needs resolving, but through what means?
It seems that there are four different courses of action that can be done to decrease the rate of school shootings. The first and in my opinion most effective is changing and strengthening gun laws. Although this method could be very effective it also isn’t in accordance with the constitution and the basic rights and liberties that Americans are guaranteed. For many years the debate over “the right to bear arms” has been ongoing, fuelled by shooting after shooting. As I learned this year in Government, Politics and Citizenship passing laws and making changes to the constitution are both very difficult and in most cases take long periods of time. With all of the support for the NRA and the general conception that Americans should have the right to own guns it’s been quite challenging to make headway through this method in the past. Part of what makes legislative reform so hard is that America has been built on the idea of Independence above all else, so for many people it feels wrong to attempt to restrict certain rights. A slightly more viable solution in the legislative realm of solutions could be to make a small change in the constitution from “right to bear arms” to “privilege to bear arms”.
Another possible alternative or measure to complement other efforts might be to arm the victims, in this case the schools. Even if physically combatting intruders is ineffective it will add an obstacle to the shooters who would otherwise have absolutely nothing standing in their way from shooting entire schools. Of course fighting fire with fire isn’t always a good thing. There are concerns that if teachers are armed some of them might become liabilities to the students. Another similar option lies in increasing school security. The addition of metal detectors and guards at the entrances would discourage many shooters from even attempting to enter a school.
Focus on outside factors that aren’t normally addressed such as decreasing the amount of gun violence in media. On a very elemental level this makes a lot of sense. Improving mental health care will also help to get rid of many shootings. I think that everyone can agree that you can’t be completely straight in the head and believe it’s a good thing to kill innocent students. This same solution can also be brought about through increased efforts on better parenting.
Regardless of what is decided upon in the next few years something must be done.