The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. Feb. 14, 2018 has renewed tension in the U.S. over gun violence and how to keep Americans safe in the wake of this tragedy. There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since the one at Sandy Hook Elementary school Dec. 14, 2012. The culture around the right to own a firearm is more extreme in the U.S. than in other nations. Our right to own a firearm should never supersede an individual’s right to feel safe in his home, school, church or movie theater. Every time there is a mass shooting in America, we say “enough is enough.” Today, enough is enough. Democrats and Republicans need to come together to pass gun control legislation despite lobbying and donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The time has beyond passed for thoughts and prayers. We need to regulate who can legally purchase assault rifles such as AR-15s and other weapons. We need more thorough screening for individuals wishing to purchase firearms. An individual who wishes to purchase a firearm should have to declare his or her intention to purchase through the local police and have it confirmed that he or she should be able to own that weapon. In addition to firearms, the amount of ammunition that an individual can buy within each month should be regulated to 500 rounds or less depending on the firearm in question. The current background checks need to be increased. The F.B.I. should use big data to monitor and meet with individuals who have purchased more than 500 rounds in one month and confiscate their weapons if they identify any instances when they have acted belligerent or aggressive on social media or in real life. The F.B.I. should conduct additional screening to prevent individuals who have mental illnesses that impair their quality of life and ability to safely use the weapon from purchasing firearms. This should ensure that further tragedies do not occur.
The discussion should be about both mental illness and how to account for the millions of firearms in the U. S. The federal, state and local governments should be able to regulate who has the right to purchase a firearm through the individual’s friends, family and neighbors. Dr. Gary Armstrong, professor of political science and Associate Dean of the Core Curriculum, gave me the idea that an individual who wishes to purchase a firearm should publicly declare it through both the county sheriff and place a visible yard sign by order of the federal government in his yard and a 1-800 number for friends and neighbors to call to testify on his behalf of his right to own a firearm. I believe that after the course of one calendar month the calls will be compiled and if 90 percent of respondents state that he or she is a law abiding citizen with no history of mental illness, then the individual should be able to purchase the firearm. The individual should have to be fingerprinted prior to requesting a government sign.
Every individual who owns a firearm should have to keep it in a secured gun safe to prevent others from stealing it. Congress should pass bipartisan legislation to increase the age limit for the purchase of assault rifles and high capacity magazines and outlaw bump stocks. They should create a mandatory waiting period after the purchase of a firearm before an individual receives his or her firearm such as one month for handguns and rifles. A civilian should not be able to purchase an assault rifle. Citizens have the right to defend their homes in Missouri, but that does not require the brutality of an AR-15.
Citizens have a responsibility to protect their home and family. Teachers have a right to teach without fear of an active shooter. Each state should provide additional teacher protection beyond active shooter training, such as off duty state troopers in schools or currently unemployed military veterans to patrol schools. All public and private schools should have locking mechanisms to lock outside doors after the school day has begun and require all visitors to go through the front office and sign in before entering the main building. Congress should fund additional research into gun violence. Teachers can utilize other potential weapons to protect themselves such as textbooks or pepper spray. In the event of an active shooter they could use a golf ball inside a sock or throw their cellphone, keys or lanyard to defend themselves.
American gun violence cannot continue to be a part of our culture. We need to unify and speak out against gun violence. It’s necessary for us to have a voice today. We need to think about Newtown, Conn. and every mass shooting since before Columbine to solve this problem. It’s our obligation end gun violence for our kids and our future.