The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Safe and Secure or Fire and Fury?

Parkland causes student demand for more gun laws

The aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting on February 14th, which left 17 students and staff dead, has caused many students to doubt whether or not U.S. gun laws truly keep themselves, and others, safe.

On February 14th, 19-year old Nikolas Cruz burst into the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, armed with an Armalite AR-15 rifle, pulled the fire alarm, and fired dozens of rounds within the school before escaping and being apprehended by the police. A police resource officer was on the scene, but refused to engage the shooter, as did other sheriff and county police forces when they arrived on the scene.

The shooting left fourteen students and three teachers dead and seventeen more heavily wounded. Now, in the aftermath of one of the most lethal school shootings in U.S. history, both students and politicians are fiercely attacking – and defending – the nation’s current gun control laws.

“Obviously, current gun control isn’t that effective,” sophomore Duncan Vaughn said. “Criminals and bad people are still able to acquire firearms and use them, like in the recent Florida shooting. I have a lot of friends that are scared every time there’s a fire drill now.”

Most Woodside students agree that present gun laws need to change.

“Current gun control is very unsafe,” student Joe Untrecht told the Paw Print. “The U.S. has one of the weakest gun control systems in the world; that’s why there are so many shootings. It’s always of question of ‘where next?’”

Current gun laws vary state-by-state. California, for instance, has a mandatory waiting period of 10 days before receiving a purchased firearm, to prevent “spur of the moment”
shootings. Many conservative states, especially in the South, have no such requirement, allowing the purchase of most firearms within minutes of walking into the store.

“These laws are lax and are killing people,” Woodside sophomore Anastacia Mustante said. “People can now be as well-armed as the police, as well-armed as the military, legally. Something has to change.”

Even the President has expressed support for gun control legislation after the shooting. President Trump stated in a televised White House discussion with a bipartisan group of Congressmen that he supports limited gun control legislation that immediately restricts access to firearms for high-risk individuals.

“Take the guns first,” said President Trump, adding, “go through due process second.”

Much of the nation is united in the belief that something has to be done, but it is divided in what exactly should be done. Some believe that the government should separate “safe” gun owners from potentially dangerous or risky people, and only restrict the latter.

“Effective gun control policies would be policies that keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and have them remain in the custody of responsible owners,” Vaughn explained. “If someone breaks into your house and you can’t stop them, you’re screwed. [Guns] provide a sense of security for people, a security blanket. Even if they’re never used, they still put people at ease.”

Other students, however, disagree as to the need for guns.

“I mean, I don’t really see a need for guns at all,” Joe admitted. “Why are they needed? Hunting, O.K., but self defense? That’s what the police are for […] There’s no need for stuff like handguns or semi-automatic rifles. You don’t need two rounds a second to kill a deer.”

Some students wish for certain types of firearms, such as the famous AR-15, to be restricted due to their lethality.

“I think a massive problem was that the police [resource officer] didn’t go in and shoot the guy,” Mustante commented. “I guess he wasn’t as well armed as the shooter, but it was his job, and he let seventeen people die. When people can legally outgun police officers to the extent that the officers refuse to move in, there’s obviously a problem with gun control laws.”

Finally, there is simply the ever-present option of banning these types of firearms altogether.

“The AR-15 is responsible for many of the most deadly shootings,” Aaron Mills, a senior commented. “And yet you don’t need an assault rifle to hunt deer. If semi-auto weapons can no longer be sold, it’ll be a lot harder for shooters to kill multiple people as quickly as they can now.”

Despite the many different viewpoints on gun control, most students agree that increasingly strict policies are needed.

“What’s next?” Anastacia asked. “Police officers with rocket launchers and machine guns? Military personnel carriers with flashing lights? More and more shootings nationwide? Because that seems to be the current future for the police unless we get better gun laws.”

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About the Contributor
Sean Moriarty
Sean Moriarty, Staff Writer
Sean Moriarty is a Politics editor in charge of Special Coverage for the Woodside Paw Print. This is his second year writing for the Paw Print. He enjoys reading and writing about politics and current events. Sean hopes to become a news reporter, historian, or an author after college. Sean has won first place in the JEANC 2017 Digital Media Live Coverage competition for anchoring and an honorable mention for his News Story competition for his story "German Far-Right Party Third-Largest in Bundestag."

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