Causing real change

New gun legislation being introduced across the country


Rebecca Cutsinger, Author

Since the major school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the country has seen a big push from younger generations for gun law reform. The school shooting in February that killed 17 people and wounded many others sparked a movement across the country, mainly from high school age kids, for stricter gun laws and regulations. Along with this movement were school wide walk outs to draw attention to lawmakers that show students cared about this issue. Battlefield participated in a walk-out organized by select members in the SALC program to show support for the victims of Stoneman Douglas. The March for our Lives rally in Washington D.C. was the biggest outcome of this movement, ending up as a direct call to lawmakers to aid in the increasing number of deadly school/mass shootings.

Nine months after the shooting, the country is starting to see real change from the movement. Many states have begun to propose new legislation in wake of the massacres as there have been other mass shootings since Stoneman Douglas.

According to CNN, certain states have taken immediate action. In New Jersey the Governor signed a bill into law in May banning the use of bump stocks on firearms. A bump stock was used in the Las Vegas shooting in October, 2017, when 59 people were killed and over 800 injured. The New Jersey’s Governor stated, “There is no reason why anyone needs to own a device that can fire 90 bullets every 10 seconds but for the mass killing of people.” Banning of bump stocks has taken place in many other states as well including California, Massachusetts, Washington and Florida.

Florida has also recently passed a bill named after the Stoneman Douglas shooting that “Tightens gun control in several ways and also includes a provision that would allow some teachers to be armed. It raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, and required a three-day waiting period for firearm purchases…. The new law also allows law enforcement officers to ask the court to prohibit someone temporarily from possessing or buying a firearm.” Students around the country are pushing for a law similar to this one in their own states thinking that stricter laws on purchasing firearms and overall access to such weapons is crucial. However many people also fear that as we increase the restrictions on guns, we increase the risk to our personal freedoms and our rights pertaining to the second amendment.

Mental health concerns are one of the most prevalent topics when it comes to stricter gun laws. Many believe that the mentally unstable should be barred, restricted, or closely monitored if they obtain, or seek to obtain, a firearm. The counter to this opinion is that if a mental health patient knows they could lose the ability to obtain a weapon they would be less inclined to seek mental health care, a problem prevalent in today’s world. New Jersey has passed many laws since the increase of mass shootings in the country, including one that pertains to mental health patients. The law “requires that mental health practitioners alert law enforcement if a patient has threatened serious physical violence against themselves or others. The patients firearm ID card and carrying permit will be voided if law enforcement determines that the patient is incapable under state law of possessing a firearm…. This also allows state courts to issue ‘extreme risk protection orders’ to temporarily prohibit people from having or buying firearms if they are deemed to pose a significant risk of injury to themselves or others.”  

Opponents of these laws argue that a mass majority of gun crimes are committed using weapons that were obtained illegally, meaning more of these laws are ineffective. Others claim that new comprehensive gun laws would be made to fix loopholes in the system.

Another issue prevalent to the gun debate is the question of guns sold on the black market, illegal types of guns sold, or legal legal types of guns that are sold illegally. Other than current police work there has been no legislation or plan put forth to crack down on the illegal sale of weapons nationwide.

Senior James Doppee shares his thoughts when it comes to gun control. He believes that “all violent criminals, people who are mentally ill, and domestic criminals should be barred from owning firearms, as well as universal background checks on all wishing to purchase a firearm, and required training to own handguns and rifles.”

However, senior Hannah Credno takes a more progressive stance on the issue claiming “It’s a difficult issue but I don’t think citizens should be allowed to have guns at all, they should only be used for military purposes.”

The gun debate will continue to be a hot topic as long as our country continues to combat these horrific shootings and mass gun violence that is prevalent in our country today. Students will continue to fight and are encouraged to keep fighting and keep their voices loud as we try to protect ourselves and our schools from these incidents. Bobcats are encouraged to share their ideas of how to better protect or prepare for these incidents with teachers, staff, and administration. We are Bobcat Strong!