The Debate on Gun Control

Haley Moreland ‘22, Staff Writer

The infamous American gun debate first sparked in the 18th century with the passing of the second amendment. The second amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In simple terms, the second amendment states that the people of the United States have the right to have weapons, even semi-automatic rifles, which have been the center of the present gun debate.

On February 28th, 2018, two weeks after fourteen students and three adults were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, President Donald Trump met with Congress to discuss ways to lower homicide rates due to accessibility to guns. They discussed whether or not mortality due to homicide in the U.S. is directly correlated to accessibility to firearms, and found the results disheartening. When first addressing the topic, some members of Congress proposed that universal background checks should be mandatory to lower the number of homicides due to gun violence. However, some studies have shown that thorough background checks do not necessarily change the incidence of gun violence and homicide. Congress and the President were forced to come to the conclusion that even though background checks should theoretically help prevent gun violence, this method wasn’t a sure solution.

Even though Congress has been frantically trying to solve the pressing matter, U.S. citizens are making their own opinions known. The survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took action through social media, telling the world how wrong the gun laws in the country were and pushing for more restrictions. Many Americans quickly sympathized with these teenagers and rooted for their argument, but the kids have not been without challengers. The National Rifle Association pushed back and stated that the second amendment justified the individual possession of arms. The NRA wasn’t without supporters, but it was safe to say that because of the teenagers’ personal connection to gun violence and general understanding of social media and its effect on people, they had the upper hand. The teen survivors from the shooting, led by David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, initiated the March for Our Lives, a student-led rally of over 200,000 people in Washington D.C..

Although the debate has been dying down in the media, the search for solutions continues. Even Pittsburgh has been affected by school attackers – Franklin Regional High School being an example.  The school was attacked by a student on April 9th, 2014, who seriously injured 22 people – himself included – with a knife he’d snuck into school. While the method of attack did not involve guns, the violence in the school prompted the administration and community to establish safety guidelines. Currently students at the school must go through metal detectors and wear transparent backpacks to help ensure that no weapons are being taken into the building. There was a debate on whether or not teachers should be armed should an attacker ever enter the school and whether or not they’d have the authority to take action. Considering the previous discussions on this matter and the constant resurgence of the topic, there is sure to be more to come out of this controversy that has swept not only the nation, but the world.