Recent Gun Violence is Reminder that Change Must Happen

On Jan. 22, a student at nearby Magruder High School was found critically injured in a bathroom after being shot by another student. This follows the highly publicized and familiar scene at Oxford High school on Nov. 30 where four students tragically lost their lives and seven students were injured.

Again, the question is raised as to what could have been done to prevent these tragedies. It feels as if this has become far too common.

The perpetrator at Oxford HS was 15 year old student Ethan Crumbley; if a 15 year old can so easily access the weapons to commit a mass shooting, then we must pass stricter gun laws to ensure this doesn’t happen again. 

According to National Public Radio (NPR), Crumbley’s parents purchased the handgun on Black Friday as a Christmas gift for their son but stored it improperly which allowed Crumbley to get his hands on it.

The suspect at Magruder is 17 year old Steven Alston Jr, a student at the school. According to Fox 5, he allegedly bought the parts for the nine millimeter used in the shooting online and assembled it at home with a friend. Perhaps this detail, that someone under 18 was able to obtain a deadly weapon, will finally cause many to consider their stance on gun control.

The public has become desensitized to school shootings in America due to their frequency. Students nationwide fear this could happen to them.

“They see their peers getting murdered and it must stop. We need stricter gun control laws,” senior Bailey Banfield said.

Guns are far too easy to obtain and steps must be taken to reduce the access that perpetuates gun violence and mass shootings. Many feel the responsibility falls on gun owner’s to ensure proper restriction from underage students. 

“If they own guns they must keep them locked up and secure, and not be easily accessible or given to their kids,” junior Will Holland said.

Failures from our leaders will allow mass shootings to continue. 

As a compromise, we should not totally eliminate American citizens from owning guns, but heavier purchase restrictions should be put in place. 

Comparing U.S. gun ownership to other countries, such as Norway for example, helps bring the issue into perspective. According to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) U.S. civilians own 120 guns per every 100 people and have 4.12 gun homicides per 100,000 people. Norway on the other hand registers only 28.8 civilian owned guns per 100 people and 0.07 gun homicides per 100,000 people. 

Although we are a larger country then Norway, they also have much stricter gun laws which explain a lower amount of gun deaths.

Currently in Maryland, shotguns and long rifles have minimal regulations; the only requirements to purchase those types of weapons are a valid driver’s license and being over 18 years old. Handguns, while more restrictive, are still relatively easy to purchase with a valid permit to possess a legal handgun which takes seven days to obtain.

Maryland currently prohibits assault pistols and assault long rifles, such as AR-15s, but if an assault rifle meets the criteria to be classified as a normal long gun then it can be purchased. 

States with looser gun laws even allow assault rifles to be purchased without restrictions. Why should an average citizen even have access to military grade weapons?

Many may claim that self defense is a reason to have access to these weapons, but is there a valid reason to possess military grade weapons for only self defense? These weapons have allowed the high death toll in various mass shootings, and if we continue to allow them to be widely available, these mass shootings will continue to occur. 

Many at RHS support the idea that more gun laws, not only regarding perpetrators but also accessories, will help to curb mass shootings.

“More gun laws such as charging people as accessories and giving them more time could change things,” teacher Raymond Trail said.