School Shooting and Gun Control Debate Continues

School Shooting and Gun Control Debate Continues

Eloy Kim, Junior Staff Writer

It has been nearly seven years since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-six people died, 20 of them children between six and seven years old. Survivors of this tragic day were stunned by the seemingly out-of-the-blue incident in a relatively peaceful village. Some will never recover from the loss of their loved ones. All, however, are determined to make sure this tragedy in schools would be the last. 

After the incident of Sandy Hook, renewed nationwide calls for change have occurred. Students have led the way, bringing additional national attention to this issue and urging our government to take action. In fact, just this past month, a heartbreaking PSA video was released, reenacting the horrors of the Sandy Hook shootings, and serving as a reminder of the promise our government owes. 

Yet here we are today with seemingly nothing done. Since Sandy Hook, over 2000 mass shootings have occurred. Everytownresearch reports over three million American children are exposed to shootings per year. As a painful reminder, this wasn’t even the first time it happened. Prior to the shootings of Sandy Hook, another mass school shooting occurred in Columbine High School in 1999. These are statistics that don’t settle well with students here at Hubbard High School. Albert Gerlick, a junior, had this to say: “I am really shocked that school shootings occur at the rate that they do today. Most of these shootings could have been preventable if the government took action sooner.” Others, however, are unsurprised at this long-lasting issue, such as junior Nicholas Capuzello: “It doesn’t really surprise me; we see people in our government arguing all the time, so it’s no wonder they don’t get anything done.” The frustration that these two students have is mutual among millions of Americans. This is because of the sad reality that the catastrophes of Sandy Hook and other school shootings is rooted into another deep and heated issue: gun control.

Gun control finds its foundation nearly 200 years ago in the forming of our Constitution. Here, the Second Amendment states:  …the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

Although it would be a mistake to assume all Republicans follow the same philosophy, it has traditionally been the Republican party who have ardently defended the Second Amendment. The Republican philosophy has been that one’s right to protect him or herself shouldn’t be restricted by the government. Several gun groups, most notably the National Rifle Association (NRA), have backed up this belief through lobbying, which is the act of persuading a politician on an issue, sometimes through money. A recent example of this is the NRA donating huge sums of money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It is these people, however, who are perhaps under the most fire in the midst of these shootings. Calls for stronger and stricter gun control laws have been propagated by the Democratic party. That isn’t to say all Democrats do not support the Second Amendment, but it is simply their proposed government restrictions on guns that most Republicans oppose. 

Even proposed solutions such as stronger background checks and the banning of certain weapons such as assault rifles have been fiercely opposed, with critics arguing that it would not fix the problem, but rather, would only infringe upon individual freedom.

Another aspect worth considering is the shooters themselves. Republicans and Democrats alike have professed for keeping weapons out of the hands of these kinds of people. Jack Slaina, a junior here at Hubbard High, also agrees. “I don’t think it’s a gun problem,” he says, “but rather a people problem. We should focus instead on the shooters themselves who probably have mental problems.” Mental illness has often been associated with school shooters, many of whom commit suicide after the shooting. This is not to throw out anything demeaning or misleading about mentally ill people, but it’s important to know that severe depression, combined with a suffocating and unsupportive environment, has often been a recipe for disaster. 

While people in Washington argue among themselves, it’s important for us to do what we can by recognizing the signs of someone struggling and to come together as a community when hardships pass by. If people came to this conclusion, society would be more conducive to progress, and the memory of those children in Sandy Hook will not die away in vain.