In April of 1999, two high school seniors walked through the doors of Columbine High School and opened fire on innocent students and staff, killing 13 people and injuring 24 others.
According to CNN, only one law passed through Congress the following May which required trigger locks on all newly-manufactured handguns and extended the waiting period and background check requirements to the sales of firearms at gun shows and even this required a tie-breaking vote from former Vice President, Al Gore.
Dec. 12, 2012, a man with a penchant for violence and access to automatic weapons stormed the campus of Sandy Hook Elementary School, murdered 26 staff members and young children then proceeded to shoot himself.
Years have passed and yet, according to Newsweek, zero federal gun control laws have been passed in the wake of Sandy Hook or the plethora of other school mass shootings that have occurred since then.
It’s Valentine’s Day 2018; students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are milling about, waiting for the final bell to ring when a hate-filled young man enters the building, kills 17 students and staff members and sends 14 more to the hospital.
And yet, even though the people of America have been begging for better gun control for more than two decades, very little has been passed at the federal level to help avoid these shootings in the future.
And, regrettably, most Americans stop fighting after a few months.
Yes, while there are some who fight year-around for better gun control laws and more protection for the common citizen, most Americans tend to lose interest and stop demanding for these kinds of changes not long after a mass shooting occurs.
But why? Why do we only fight for better gun control after a tragic shooting has occurred and then seemingly forget about it until another tragedy happens?
This is part of the problem with grass-roots gun control movements: people will organize and fight but not until it’s already too late.
2nd Amendment groups, like the NRA, lobby for fewer gun restrictions and spend millions every day to persuade lawmakers to see their point of view. And while these smaller, less-funded movements for gun control might seem outnumbered in members and finances against such massive behemoths, the power of a million voices can do amazing things.
As far as what these movements are asking for, I can only partially agree.
I want there to be less gun violence and better, more in-depth background checks for people interested in getting these weapons but most of these movements, when they arise, ask for flat-out banning of guns and an absolutely gunless society.
The thing is, that’s impossible: just like when Pandora’s Box was opened in Greek mythology, once these evils (or, in this case, automatic weapons) are released, there is no way to put it all back. No matter if we were able to pass a law completely banning the sale and possession of guns, it wouldn’t happen because people can still make these weapons on their own or find them on black markets.
Furthermore, if we were to make owning guns illegal, that would just stop law-abiding citizens from having weapons; not the criminals and dangerous people who are usually the source of mass shootings like this. So, essentially, it would strip the good people of any defense they might have had against the bad ones.
So, what can we do then if we can’t completely get rid of guns?
Well we, as the people who supposedly run this country, need to start at the local and state level and ask our governors to propose better gun control policies that more thoroughly regulate the sale and possession of weapons. Also, we need to push for better regulations 24/7 rather than only when something like this happens; what’s the point of pushing for better gun control when the damage has already been done?
In the end, these are only steps to better gun control and can only help the children of the future if we, the ones who have power, speak out in the present.