Today, our hearts break once again for a community in this country where a senseless act of violence happened within a school. A place that is supposed to be a safe space for our children.
The firearm used in the school shooting that killed 17 kids in Parkland, Florida was legally purchased. It was a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle bought by a 19 year-old boy who had been expelled from school for disciplinary reasons. His own mother, before she past away last year, called the police on him several times. He had been reported to the FBI back in September for writing a comment online about wanting to be a professional school shooter. In Florida, you have to be 18 years-old to purchase an AR-15. There is no waiting period. You don’t need a license to own one and and you don’t have to register it.
It seems to me that if he did have to register it, when the FBI received that tip from a concerned citizen, they would have been able to crosscheck his name with being the owner of a gun typically used in mass shootings.
The second amendment was written in 1791. Believing in your right to “bear arms” does not prohibit you from also believing in stricter gun control laws or modern day solutions to what is clearly an epidemic uniquely affecting our country.
In 2005, our government enacted the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” to protect gun makers from civil lawsuits caused by “misuse of their products by others.” Why are they able to write new legislation to protect gun manufacturers but they can’t enact new laws to protect our children?
Banning assault weapons and strict gun laws has worked in many other countries, like Australia. After a 1997 mass shooting in Port Arthur which killed 35 people in a half hour, their prime minister promptly enacted massive gun reforms including a firearm licensing and registration system which required people to have a “genuine reason” for having a firearm, such as sport or target shooting, recreational hunting or being a farmer. They also put into place a national gun buyback policy for all weapons that did not comply, which led to the buying and melting down of more than 650,000 firearms. According to The Guardian, “there have been no mass shootings in the 20 years since Port Arthur; in the 20 years before the massacre there had been 13.”
I am sick of feeling powerless in this battle to keep guns out of our schools and away from our children. Today, I joined Moms Demand Action as a small attempt to be part of the solution to the gun problem destroying our country. If you’d like to do the same, you can do so here. You can also check out Everytown for more ways to take action.
I believe that there are things that can be done. Countries like Australia have proven it. We just need our government to put the welfare of our children ahead of the campaign dollars they get from the NRA.
If you have any other suggestions for ways to take action and get involved, please leave them in the comments below.