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We’re all reeling from the information of the college taking pictures in Parkland, Florida that left 17 useless and 14 injured. A 19-year-old former pupil has confessed to the taking pictures. He used a semiautomatic weapon that he bought legally a 12 months in the past.
5 years in the past, when a gunman opened fireplace with an identical weapon at Sandy Hook elementary faculty in Newtown, Connecticut, killing first-graders and academics, there was an uproar: we should cease this from occurring, we mentioned. We should do one thing.
However we didn’t. And for the reason that taking pictures at Sandy Hook, there have been at the very least 239 faculty shootings, with greater than 400 individuals shot and 138 killed. And people are simply faculty shootings; many extra have been killed in different shootings, such because the taking pictures in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017 that killed 58 individuals.
For a lot of causes, as a rustic we’ve struggled to take actions that restrict entry to weapons. We take the Second Modification very significantly: “A well-regulated Militia, being essential to the safety of a free State, the suitable of the individuals to maintain and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The issue is, too many weapons aren’t getting used as a part of a well-regulated militia — or for searching or sport. They’re being utilized by indignant or mentally in poor health people to kill harmless individuals, together with harmless kids.
Folks kill, gun rights advocates say, not weapons. And that’s true. However with out the weapons, particularly with out weapons just like the one utilized in Parkland, they’d be killing many fewer individuals, maybe none in any respect. It isn’t simply concerning the individuals and their psychological well being issues. It’s additionally concerning the weapons.
Yearly, 1,300 kids underneath the age of 18 die from accidents because of firearms. In case you increase the age to 21, that quantity is sort of tripled to 4,500 — and 20,000 are seen in emergency rooms for firearm-related accidents.
It’s time we confronted information and did one thing concerning the public well being disaster of gun violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified that there are some coverage actions we might take that would make an amazing distinction:
- We must always have a ban on assault weapons, and we must always embrace in that ban weapons like those utilized in Parkland, Newtown, and Las Vegas. As a nation, we have to have a really critical dialog about why anybody must personal a gun that may shoot many bullets in a short time.
- We’d like stronger background checks, obligatory ready durations and psychological well being restrictions for gun purchases. We have to shut the gun present loophole, and do a greater job of stopping gun trafficking.
- We have to make secure storage the regulation. We’d like set off locks, lock packing containers, gun safes and laws to verify they’re used.
- We’d like psychological well being providers to be extensively and simply accessible, to assist individuals earlier than they consider utilizing a gun on others or themselves.
Particular person gun homeowners will help by ensuring that their weapons are safely locked and out of attain, with ammunition locked individually. A research revealed in 2017 discovered that 39% of fogeys wrongly thought their kids didn’t know the place their gun was saved.
We additionally have to do a greater job of talking up — and reaching out and taking motion — when individuals discuss violence. The shooter in Parkland had been fairly vocal on social media and with associates about his gun possession and ideas of wounding individuals. We are able to’t ignore or dismiss issues like this. Simply as vital, we have to give regulation enforcement in addition to family and friends members actual instruments to have the ability to intervene, get the individual assist and maintain others secure.
We are able to’t wait any extra. We are able to’t let any extra kids die. Our kids should be extra vital than our weapons.
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