Dickinsonians Report Mixed Feelings on Potential Gun Reform

Drew Kaplan ‘20, Opinion Editor

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The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida has sparked a debate both on campus and nationally about gun control.

After a gunman opened fire on students and teachers, 17 people lost their lives on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, has been charged with 17 counts of murder in connection to the shooting. The dead ranged from ages 14 to 49. According to the Chicago Tribune, Cruz’s lawyer, Howard Finkelstein, stated Cruz would likely plead guilty to all counts in exchange for Florida prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.

Stoneman Douglas comes in a long line of shootings across the United States;.Since 1999 Columbine massacre, there have been 25 fatal school shootings, according to USA Today.

Principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Ty Thompson, in a video posted to YouTube, described the events as “an unthinkable act of violence.” He expressed gratitude to the school community and the first responders.

According to Politico, survivors from Stoneman Douglas have announced plans for a march to take place on Mar. 24 in Washington D.C. calling for legislators to address gun violence. The students in charge of the march have expressed disapproval of legislators for failing to pass legislation previously and for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association. The students have criticized both Democrat and Republican lawmakers for their inaction.

Dickinson students expressed frustration over the frequency of mass shootings in the United States.

“I believe the shooting in Florida was preventable,” said Cailey Cummins ’20. “The high school was about as safe as any high school can be, just short of being turned into a prison… We need stricter regulations on the purchase and ownership of guns. Mass shootings are a uniquely American problem, directly related to our uniquely lax gun laws.”

Noah Frank ’20 said, “I know someone who goes to the high school and hid in a closet for an hour.”

However, not all students feel that stricter gun control is the solution to preventing school shootings.

Benjamin Fleming ’19 stated, “I think these situations, such as tragedies, are always difficult, not only in honoring/remembering the dead but also in being able to look past our emotional, initial reactions, to have real discussions.  I feel that too many of the current reactions are fueled by emotions and not reality.  Furthermore, people need to figure out what they would prefer….freedom or complete safety. One of which was coveted by our founders and fought for over many centuries, while the other is never truly achievable and can only be gained through the loss of the other, leading to a life not worth living.  We must step back and choose wisely.” Gaby Fleming ’18, said “For the most part, I am against gun control and this is for many reasons. Gun control laws at the state level in the United States have by and large been ineffective. A March 10, 2016 Lancet study showed that most state-level gun control laws did not reduce firearm death rates, and, of 25 state laws, nine were actually associated with higher gun death rates. Strict gun laws have also proved ineffective in other countries like Mexico. In Mexico, there is only one legal gun store but an enormous black market for gun sales has erupted within the country. If certain weapons are banned in the United States, it will not stop them from being sold.”

Vox reported that protests are scheduled for Mar. 14 and Mar. 24, and the Boston Globe reported that protests are scheduled for Mar. 14 and April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre of 1999.

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