School shootings: What’s next?

Sanchali Pandey, Staff Writer

A year ago, I wrote a similar piece on school shootings; however, my focus was the Uvalde, Texas one. With an entire year having gone by and more school shootings having been added to the list, the call for change is ever important. However, each year, school shootings tragically occur and sentiments detailing urgent pleas for change get thrown around, but nothing ever actually changes. In a sense, this article is similarly just another urgent plea for change. While it will likely not do anything worthwhile in the grand scheme that is gun control (or rather, lack of it), I hope it will at least inspire some to act. 

The Uvalde, Texas shooting made its mark among the deadliest of such school shootings in history, yet in spite of this, lawmakers once again failed to make any meaningful change to our profoundly flawed gun purchase system. For example, a legislative committee in Texas pushed through a bill that was meant to raise the AR-15 rifle purchase age from 18 to 21, but this bill never actually made it to get a vote on the floor of the House. 

As of current, there have already been 24 school shootings that have caused either illness or death in 2023. And—keep in mind—schools are not the only targets of gun holders. Nightclubs, restaurants, amusement parks, concerts, and a slew of other public places are also effortless targets. Schools tend to be the ones most highlighted in the news and media because of the association of schools with safety and how parents send their kids there with the notion that they will be safe and in good care. However, as seen with this unparalleled number of school shootings that have only been on the rise since 2018, this previously held idea has lost any value. 

Though public opinion is currently skewed towards favoring legislation that restricts access to firearms, the push for legislation to do so is often blocked, as mentioned previously. As with most other things in the realm of politics, we see this debate on gun control fall mostly along party lines, with Democrats for it and Republicans against it. However, what many fail to realize is that gun control should not be a matter of voting like mere sheep and following the rest of the pack but rather about safety. Knowing that schools and other public places are not safe because of such lax gun control laws is a bad thing in and of itself, and politicians should realize this regardless of whatever side of the political spectrum they are on. 

At the end of the day, this debate on gun control is, in reality, a debate on safety. Embellishing this under the guise of political affiliations such as Republican or Democrat won’t change the fact that someone is either for safety or not. After all, it’s easy to not see the full scope of the issue when it has never been a full concern, especially if someone has never come face to face with a gun in real life. Although, even a sliver of empathy should be enough to get these lawmakers to realize the sheer necessity of gun control in our society. Let’s save lives, not put them at greater risk.