KMC Crusade

Florida shooting pushes gun control into the spotlight

Protesters+take+to+D.C.+to+protest+gun+violence+and+call+for+gun+control+laws.+The+March+took+place+on+Mar.+24.+Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons+
Protesters take to D.C. to protest gun violence and call for gun control laws. The March took place on Mar. 24. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Protesters take to D.C. to protest gun violence and call for gun control laws. The March took place on Mar. 24. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Protesters take to D.C. to protest gun violence and call for gun control laws. The March took place on Mar. 24. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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Seventeen dead, 14 injured. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old, armed with an AR-15, shot at students in his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDS) in Florida. Another mass shooting. They seem to take up so much of the media coverage whenever they happen, and they are getting more frequent. This most recent tragedy has been unique because the primary advocates for gun control in the wake of the shooting have been some of the would-be victims.

Many MSDS students have taken to social activism. Some of them have even been swiftly verified on Twitter following the shooting (symbolized by a blue check mark next to their Twitter name, which indicated that a public

Protesters take to D.C. to protest gun violence and call for gun control laws. The March took place on Mar. 24. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

account is authentic). The most prominent activists of which have been David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. Hogg has appeared on CNN and various other news platforms, calling for gun control and leading the fight to boycott the National Rifle Association (NRA). Gonzalez has played a major role in organizing the March for Our Lives–a studentorganized march on Washington to advocate gun control measures. Part of the publicization of the march has been the students using the hashtag #NeverAgain on social media.

Junior Natalie Odour is inspired by the students’ activism.

“I love how the students involved in the shooting are taking matters into their own hands and trying to bring about change,” Odour said. “They are so inspirational, and I hope they achieve their goal [of changing gun laws].”

The blame of shootings like this tends to fall on the weapons used, but this time is different, as it seems failures in the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department also contributed to Cruz’s ability to carry out these murders. According to NBC, it appears that three sheriff’s deputies waited outside as the shooting took place. The primary guard of the school, Officer Scot Peterson has been suspended. Furthermore, there may have been as many as 39 calls to 911 from Cruz’s house over a six-year period, according to CNN. The records of these calls mentioned abuses, disturbances and mental illness. Many have questioned why arrests were never made, and none of this ever resulted in an investigation. In the wake of this tragedy, many have called for Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, to resign.

Still others have put the blame on the FBI. According to CNN, Cruz’s social media profiles are filled with what, in retrospect, are eerie warning signs. He talked of his desire to be a “professional school shooter.” A little over a month before the shooting, a woman who knew Cruz called the FBI to warn them. “I know he’s going to explode,” warned the woman, according to the New York Times. Cruz called the authorities himself in November of last year, in which he talked of a fight he had been involved in and mentioned the struggles he had faced after he had lost his mother.

The perceived failures of law enforcement in these instances have certainly been the target of many, but gun control measures remain at the forefront. President Donald Trump has called for stronger background checks and the ban of bump stocks on his Twitter account. A bump stock is a tool used to rapidly fire a semi-automatic weapon.

Even the CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 23, said the federal database which logs felony convictions is greatly weakened by the failure of states to report felony convictions. LaPierre called for this to be rectified, so as to help prevent more shootings. The pressure on the lawmakers of both parties to act on gun control is greater than ever.

Senior Dawson Pennington is skeptical of the effectiveness of more legislation to prevent shootings.

“I think we should teach kids how to handle and respect guns, instead of making them scared of them,” Pennington said. “I believe that if more people owned and carried a firearm, crime rates would drop tremendously. I do think it would be a good idea to have more background checks and really look into who is buying a weapon.”

Odour is concerned not just with the availability of guns, but with which ones are available.

“I think there is no reason for someone to have an assault weapon that can be used to kill so many people,” Odour said. “I also think there should be some regulations made to protect kids at school.”

Thomas Searl, editor-in-chief, video editor

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Florida shooting pushes gun control into the spotlight