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How gun control has affected our high school experience

The Parkland shooting on February 14th, 2018, was the seventeenth school shooting of the new year, out of which five were considered “mass shootings.” Mass shootings, defined by the FBI, are shootings in which four or more people are shot and/or killed in a single incident in the same general area at the same general time. On that Wednesday afternoon, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Ubered to his former school, pulled the fire alarm to lure students into the hallways, and began to open-fire. Cruz had been banished from the school for troubling behavior including posts of guns on his Instagram account, DMs threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, and comments to an acquaintance saying he wanted to buy an AR-15 and shoot up the school, all reported to the FBI. The FBI apologized for not acting upon this tip, but no apology will bring those seventeen students and teachers back to life. Apologies continue to be made, yet we see no change; nothing has led to the protection of Americans, particularly of students and youth. Many companies have been receiving funding from the N.R.A. for years including United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Enterprise, and Avis Budget Group. These for-profit brands are now cutting ties with the N.R.A. due to the current N.R.A. boycott. While this is a step in the right direction, countless politicians are also receiving money from the organization, which makes many of these political figureheads biased and unreliable sources, including President Trump himself who was endorsed by the N.R.A. during his 2016 presidential campaign. Since the government lacks leadership, infuriated and heartbroken students have taken matters into their own hands. They have organized marches, planned walkouts, spoken at town halls, posted information for students on social media, and are taking a stand against the absence of forward movement. 

As high school students, hearing that a classmate could be standing next to you one day and gone the next is completely and utterly terrifying. Our school has sent out cautionary emails to families and mandated more lockdown drills, because now it has become imperative for students to know how to survive at school. The place in which we are supposed to be educated is now the place where we are being forced to constantly question our safety. If students no longer feel safe in their learning environment, the government needs to change legislation and make gun control laws strict enough that students do not have to actively worry about whether they will come home each night. School is government-mandated, but the government cannot and should not force people to enter an environment in which they feel unsafe. They must put stricter laws in place so that this fear is no longer rational. No 18-year-old, or civilian, for that matter, should be legally allowed to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles. In the very name, assault rifle, it is clear that these weapons are not made for safety or protection. Rather, the full intensive purpose is to assault and kill. Lex, a 12th-grade survivor from the Parkland Shooting reflected on the matter, “No one should have access to assault rifles because I don’t think they do anything other than kill. I don’t think an 18-year-old who is prohibited from drinking should have any access to buying a gun. I just don’t get it. There need to be stricter laws.” Lex was texting with her classmates during the shooting, frantically trying to make sure all of her friends were safe. The trauma she went through should never again be repeated, which is why students are finally standing up, saying “this is enough” and “we call B.S.” Politicians continue to call us “kids” and “children,” but what they clearly aren’t thinking is that us kids are going to be voting in the next election. Our generation is going to have a voice stronger than ever before, and we will take our anger and determination straight to the voting booths. So to President Trump, Marco Rubio, Dana Loesch, and every spokesperson, politician, and organization not standing up and demanding immediate gun-control laws and protection for students around the United States, we call B.S.