We need change now

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On Tuesday Mar. 20, yet another school shooting took place, this time in Maryland at Great Mills High School.

A seventeen year old male shot and wounded two students with a handgun, before being shot by resource officer Blaine Gaskill. This is already the 17th gun-related incident in a school since Jan 1. of this year.

As law makers at every level of government are debating gun control legislation, we feel it’s past time to implement some of the proposed legislation.

The shooting at Stoneman Douglas has sparked some real change already;  Illinois passed a law requiring licensing for gun dealers, and the Illinois House of Representatives passed laws banning bump-stocks and raisung the minimum age to buy assault weapons to 21 on Mar. 1.

Other states have similar bills proposed, but have not yet voted on them. The lack of urgency with which the government is handling the passing of these laws seems like an insult to the lives lost and a danger to American students.

While these issues of gun control are being pushed by much of the public right now, the government has neglected to deal with them for decades. We are quickly approaching the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting this Apr. 20, but little has been done since 13 were killed and 24 injured at this tragic event.

Even after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, where twenty children were mercilessly murdered, gun legislation failed to improve. We witnessed the deaths of these young children. Still, we hesitate.

Keep in mind that while the members of Congress continue to put off gun control as an issue that they plan to solve rather than an issue they will solve, the lives of students, teachers, churchgoers, and many other members of the community remain vulnerable. How many more students have to get shot for change to happen?

Now we have an opportunity to make sure this same article isn’t written 20 years from now. Legislation that decreases the chances of violent, unstable people acquiring guns must be approved: legislation such as raising the minimum age to purchase any gun to 21, increasing the thoroughness of background checks, and implementing a waiting period before gun purchases.

Many people are in favor of increasing gun control against assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons. However, we need laws that go beyond just the big guns. Like many others, the shooter at Great Mills was armed with only a handgun.

While we understand the right to bear arms, the Constitution also promises every American has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Because the Constitution states that only a “well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” has the right to carry a gun, many questions have been raised regarding the interpretation of what constitutes a well regulated militia.

The word regulated could indicate that guns shouldn’t be a free for all, while the word militia may not be applicable given the context of America’s established standing army.

Gun violence is a multifaceted issue that needs to be tackled from all angles. Information and awareness of how to act in a shooting, and how to report someone that may be threat are important pieces to the solution, but ultimately we must reconcile with the fact that the ease of access to guns in America puts our lives at risk.

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