Gun control is a controversial topic and a conversation not many individuals want to have, but with the recent school shootings it’s time to have a serious discussion about who should and should not have access to firearms.
On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, pulled the fire alarm, and opened fire on hundreds of his former classmates as they exited their classrooms. One month later, high-school, middle-school and elementary-school students organized themselves as a united front against the current political climate for National Walkout Day. Students all over the nation walked out of their schools at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to pay tribute to the 17 lives lost in Parkland and to express their desire for stricter gun laws.
To show support, the March for Our Lives movement was founded alongside the National Walkout Day for students to continue their protest and for higher-education students and other adults to get involved as well. The school shooting in Parkland was the eighth school shooting and 30th mass shooting in the 46 days of 2018. The message behind the movement is simple, and one that everyone can agree on; something has to be done.
The gun control movement is not meant to take away concealed carry or even assault rifles for that matter; the gun control movement is urging legislators to take a more careful look at who is buying firearms and remedy the dangerous climate that is arising within the United States.
This isn’t a matter of stricter gun laws or more attention allocated to mental health. To be successful both ideas must be implemented. A mentally sound individual is not going to shoot and kill multiple people as they leave or go to class; a mentally stable individual would not plan the assassination of over 50 people at a country music festival. Mental illness plays a key role in the deadly shootings happening all over the nation.
It is time for the younger generation to have their voices heard. It’s their lives on the line afterall. As older individuals, college students should step forward and offer guidance, but at the end of the day they should help bridge the gap between high school students and legislators so they can sit down and have the conversation they need in order to solve the problems at hand. College students should stand in solidarity, but it is important for high school and middle school students to have a say in the legislation that affects them the most.
No matter the political affiliation, it is not hard to see that change needs to happen, sooner rather than later. This change must address both fire-arm legislation and mental health in relation to access to guns. College students should be a part of the movement to help connect high-school students to legislators, but need to beware of how their voice might detract or drown out the voices of those who are directly affected by the choices of those on Capitol Hill.