By: Emma Kolick.
Immediately following the Columbine High School shooting that claimed the lives of twelve high school students and one teacher, the national media was captivated by the unprecedented tragedy, and society was gripped by feelings of outrage and dismay. Merely two decades later and only seven miles away, yet another devastating mass shooting occurred at STEM School Highlands Ranch. At present, one student has been pronounced dead with eight more wounded at the hands of two high school students. Incidentally, two shooters were also held responsible for the Columbine massacre in 1999, which is an uncommon characteristic found in school shootings, which only furthers the resemblance between the two appalling massacres.
Though these two devastating national horrors have numerous similarities, the media’s overall lack of coverage in comparison to Columbine is a direct reflection of society’s absence of shock in response to mass and school shootings. Tragically these shootings have become unreasonably commonplace in contemporary American society due to little gun control laws that result in the deaths of an exorbitant number of victims.
Under current United States law, a prospective firearm purchaser is required to undergo a background check that is executed by both the NCIS and state agencies. However, due to various loopholes, only four in five purchases occur with a background check. As a result of these loopholes, millions of firearms are wrongfully given away, and dangerous citizens could potentially receive weapons, as well. Given the fact that 82% of people murdered by firearms are from the US, it is clear America’s gun laws must be altered in order to ensure the safety of countless citizens.
As nearly 115 mass shootings have occurred in 2019 alone, and 150,000 students have undergone a school shooting since 1999, the discussion of gun control has been reintroduced to Congress after virtually every high-profile massacre. Despite the innumerable opportunities Republicans in Congress have been given to reshape laws that make it easier for sociopaths to go on mass killing sprees, many conservatives merely offer their condolences and insist mass shootings are inexorable.
Nevertheless, politicians who repeatedly claim the United States’ gun laws are faultless, and not the cause of the multitudinous shootings, are paid millions of dollars in endorsements by the NRA (National Rifle Association). Republicans such as Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell have received a combined total of nearly five million dollars. As the sole purpose of the NRA is to spread awareness for gun rights, numerous politicians are coerced to vote against gun control in order to preserve their high-paying endorsements. In essence, the NRA is effectively buying Republicans at the expense of thousands of lives.
While America continues to ignore its atrocious corruption and rampant firearm issues, countries such as Switzerland and Finland have implemented stricter gun laws, which cut their gun homicide and suicide rates in half. Australia has banned assault rifles and hasn’t had a mass killing in twenty-two years. Though Republicans frequently argue that potential mass shooters will somehow always receive guns, regardless the laws, statistics from other countries who have banned assault rifles tell otherwise.
With every shooting comes heartbreak for the victim’s family, and the amount of mass and school shootings that occur in the United States could be prevented if stricter gun laws were put in place. While gun control is habitually brought into discussion once a shooting occurs, virtually no change is made, and the vast majority of scenarios end with the same pleas to the government that seems as if they are never heard. Instead of Republicans being bought by the NRA, they should recognize the number of lives lost on a daily basis due to gun violence, and produce laws that will assist in making sure mass shootings are terminated in America.
**The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various column authors on this Website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Royal News Staff or North Royalton High School.
Emma Kolick is currently a freshman at North Royalton High School. She is involved in numerous clubs such as student council, Key Club, Spanish Club, Fish Club, and STAND. She is also a member of the girls track team. Outside of school she enjoys yoga, spending time with her friends, reading and writing. After high school, she plans to attend college and possibly pursue a career in education and journalism.