On March 14th, my high school did a school walkout for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting massacre. For the past month, news of the massacre has been on everyone’s mind. The classmates of the Parkland school victims appeared in a video message to Senator Rubio (R-FL), appealing for a solution to the gun problem. They said something to the effect of “the blood of our classmates is on your hands, Senator Rubio.” I feel that too much blame has been passed around while not enough actionable solutions have been proposed. I have a few policy changes that could potentially save lives and are practical enough to enact at the district, county, state, or Federal level, depending on how much money school administrators and boards of education are willing to budget in order to protect their students’ (and staff members’) lives.
Since the February 2018 mass shootings, there has been a debate about whether there should be stricter gun control. I agree that there should be a ban on guns because the cost lives lost in mass shootings outweighs the importance of the Second Amendment. However, with over 300 million guns already floating out in the general public, there is no realistic way to get rid of these guns. In any case, no politician has introduced a bill proposing to amend the Second Amendment thus far.
The emotional appeal to ban guns is definitely on every activist’s mind. They cite June 2016 shooting in Florida that killed 50 people in a nightclub. They cite Sandy Hook. They cite the Parkland shooting. These events demonstrate the need for tougher gun control laws. But what should those gun control laws be? In theory, they already exist--universal background checks are applied to any purchaser of a gun. The problem is that guns are available on the black market through hand-to-hand transactions. There is no way the government can keep track of how these guns change hands. Only half the solution lies in new gun control legislation. The other half lies in increased security in federally-funded institutions.
In regard to new gun control legislation, there are currently 30,000 people in California with documented mental illnesses who own guns. In a Fox News interview with Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, a solution was proposed in which a concerned citizen could call a hotline and report someone with a mental illness who might be a danger to themselves or others. The local police precinct would be assigned the task of depriving that person of their firearms. In a February 28th, congressional briefing, President Trump was heard agreeing with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that due process should be suspended when there is reasonable doubt of a gun owner’s mental stability. The hotline would thereby alert police to confiscate that person’s guns, and this would prevent a potential mass shooting. As of March 2018, Senators Feinstein and Klobuchar are drafting this bill, and as concerned citizens, we should urge our congressperson to vote in support of this bill when it hits the House and Senate floor.
The other half of the solution, the need for security in federally-funded institutions, can easily be enacted. In fact, the House of Representatives just passed a school safety bill that would give a total of $50 million dollars to schools nationwide to bolster security. The Senate just needs 60 votes to pass this bill and then it will become law. However, this $50 million dollars divided among 98,328 public schools will be a paltry $508. With this money, schools should buy a metal detector and train teachers to wave a metal detector wand on their students to make sure they’re not concealing a firearm or sharp weapon. This would deter students from shooting up their campus, but would not protect them from someone who’s not supposed to be on campus. A security guard should also be hired. Each district should hire an armed security guard to deter a potential shooter from massacring their sacred institutions of learning. In order to pay for new personnel, each school should evaluate which teacher has the lowest performance rating and fire him/her, regardless of tenure or not. If teachers unionize to protect their lowest common denominator, school administrators should leverage their moral high ground to claim that those teachers don’t care enough about their students’ lives. The salary of the fired teacher could in turn be used to hire an armed security guard, thereby ensuring that a gunman will not want to risk his/her life in an armed conflict prior to the execution of their heinous plans. If each school has an armed security guard, then potential mass shooters will be deterred and change his/her mind.
In conclusion, the solution to the gun control problem is to deprive mentally ill people of their firearms by enacting a hotline where concerned citizens can report potential threats. The other half of the solution is to hire armed security guard(s) at each school to deter a potential gunman from entering the campus. People should no longer blame Senator Marco Rubio, but instead look to their individual schools to take action. Depending on how much school administrations and boards of education care about their students’ and staff members’ lives, they will enact these solutions as soon as possible. The future is in their hands. Our role is to write letters to those in power ensuring that these solutions come to pass.