Still no Progress Three Years After Parkland

By Brianna Bush

On Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, the third anniversary of the Parkland shooting, President Joe Biden, directly addressed the families of those who lost their loved ones in the mass shooting that killed 17 innocent students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

“Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” said Biden in a statement from the White House. 

The long-hauled conversation about the prevalence of gun violence within our nation is insufferable. “We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change,” said Biden. “The time to act is now.”

And they are owed more than that; they are owed time with their son or daughter who had so much more life to give. Just imagine if the U.S. did their part to be rid of gun violence.

According to the American Public Health Association, “Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. Guns kill more than 38,000 people and cause nearly 85,000 injuries each year.”

When will the U.S. realize that guns are the very root of the destruction in the country? That our future leaders died at the hands of faulty gun laws? That after three years, the President of the United States is pleading with Congress to help keep our kids safe? 

On Feb. 14, 2018, still a senior in high school, I learned of the mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When I see the gunman pictured with a semi-automatic rifle in his hands minutes before he took their lives, I am consumed with outrage, pain, and a million what-ifs as to the steps taken that could have prevented this senseless tragedy. 

Students, faculty, and families were at a loss for words as 2018 was deemed “by far the worst year on record for gun violence in schools,” according to Vox.  And every time I think of the Parkland shooting, I think of the weight of our country at that time: the parents who once thought of school as a safe place, now thinking about the risks of sending them there. 

Now, three years later, I am overcome with contempt at the progress made regarding gun law reform after all those on their knees pleading with lawmakers to make school, of all places, a second home for children once more. 

The statistics haunt us, and once more we have to be reminded that the Second Amendment, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, should not be a challenge to effective gun control laws.

“The Second Amendment is no obstacle to effective gun control,” said Erwin Chemerinsky of  The Sacramento Bee. The issue is not about the U.S. Constitution, but about whether there is the political will to take the actions necessary to decrease gun violence.”

It is up to us to keep fighting and let go of the Second Amendment versus the gun law reform battle. We are to mend the discrepancies in our system, by calling on Congress to heavily enforce universal background checks, ban military-style assault weapons, limit the size of ammunition clips, ban bump stocks, remove the prohibition on gun violence research by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and increase funding to ensure school safety as declared by Vermont congressman, Peter Welch.

We should not let another anniversary go by where we sit back and watch more victims killed at the expense of lax gun laws. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we mustn’t waste any more time.

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