Guns Anywhere Near Schools

Post by CJN

From the mass murders by young men with a gun this summer at a busy location with lots of people, the first thing that comes to mind is how many more children won’t grow up. After the El Paso shooting, how many more children younger than three will grow up never knowing their parents?

Even though the summer shooting sprees were not at schools, the effects on children once they return to school will be traumatic, and teachers and administrators will have to deal with the difficulties of students staying on task, uncontrolled crying, withdrawal, and anger. All of which will hinder learning during the year. Does any child need to live with these consequences?

In fact, most killings called mass murders happen at home from domestic violence, at parties, or at drive-by shootings. Same difficulties, though, for children.

Does the NRA or anyone who refuses to address the gun safety issue, understand the vast dimensions of the crisis?

If we ban assault ‘rifles’, large quantity ammunition magazines, bump stocks, and printed plastic guns, there will still be murders. If we upgrade and enforce the procedures for universal background checks and make all gun owners license and register their firearms, it won’t stop someone killing someone. But it will be far better than it is now.

And it will not stop the large numbers of youth who kill themselves with guns, by accident or on purpose. No school, no college, no work, no happy days for them. So, how about stiffer laws demanding gun owners to lock up their armaments to prevent suicide or ‘accidents.’ Does such a law take away their rights?

Think about it. The registration and licensing money could be used to provide for the current president’s and NRA’s favorite culprit – lack of mental health services for shooters in this country. Believe me, all the children subjected to any shootings need mental health support. Teenagers who are thinking of killing themselves need more and better support before the worst happens.

Look at the currently collected data on shootings, arranged by the two final years of the former president’s term from 2015-2016 and the first two years of the current president’s term. Numbers differ according to source. But according to the Gun Violence Archives (with horrendous numbers), in two years from January 2015-December 2016, 28, 648 people were killed and 4,391 were killed or injured children and teens. From January 2017-December 2018 there were 30,448 killings and 7,524 were killed or injured children and teens.

The administration changed in January 2017 and that year has been considered the deadliest year with 159 killed in mass shootings. In 2019, however, up to August 29, 2019, there have already been 273 mass shootings and 9,809 total killings so far and 2,489 children and teens killed or wounded.

Look at gun safety legislation. After the 2012 Aurora shootings at which 12 were killed and 2 were aged 6 and 18, Colorado passed gun control legislation and then in the next election the two sponsors of the legislation were defeated, and the laws repealed.

In 2012 after the Sandy Hook shootings in Newton, Connecticut, when 26 were murdered, 20 of them children, Congress could not bring itself to pass gun safety legislation.

Between 2009-2016 one hundred bills had been introduced in Congress and none passed. In 2016 polling statistics, 89% of the respondents approved of universal background checks and 57% approved of a ban on assault weapons. In 2019, there has been gun safety legislation passed by the House of Representatives, but it is sitting in the Senate, not even brought to the floor.

August 21, 2019, the March for Our Lives organization, made up of student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, created a Peace Plan for a Safer America that delineates eight points for national legislation that include raising the minimum age for gun possession to 21 and the appointment of a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention.

The 2019-2020 school year has started. Now what? Are teachers going to be asked to carry pistols, revolvers, or rifles and go through firearms training, just so that in the midst of fury and turmoil and screaming they might manage to strike the perpetrator and not some innocent child?

Or will lack of needed legislation allow another unhinged young man to decide that it is his duty to kill his school mates at his former high school or children at the wrong religious site or kids at home, a festival, or shopping mall?

California is one of six with the stiffest gun legislation in the country. Still shootings are happening. So are teachers, parents, grandparents, and friends going to urge, insist, demand that their legislators in their state, both state and national, address gun safety?




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