By Willis Wong ’19
Florida high school student Nikolas Cruz shot 34 people, killing 17 and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. He was charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder; 17 charges of each.
According to previous health records, Cruz had a pattern of mental problems and had been known to own firearms before. Along with that, past social media posts, such as those on Cruz’s Snapchat account, have shown disturbing videos belonging to him.
This recent tragedy has stirred the world with discussions about gun control laws in the United States, especially in Florida.
Gun control laws in America have been lenient and easy to bypass. People like Cruz are easily getting hold of firearms, which could lead to similar incidents in the future.
Restrictions on age and previous conviction records limit who can purchase firearms legally in some places in the United States.
Some states also require a license or a permit to purchase or possess firearms, or require the firearm to be officially registered with the police.
However, Florida does not include these restrictions. According to their official state laws, buyers of firearms do not need a state license to purchase firearms, they do not need to register their firearms (in fact, it is a crime to record a registry of legal firearm owners), and there are no background checks needed.
Not only that, but Florida has no restrictions on private rs, meaning that even if a registered firearms seller refuses to sell you a gun, it is still easy to purchase a firearm privately from another person.
Compared to gun control laws in New York, Florida has almost no limitations at all. In New York, you need a permit, registration, license, and a carry license for handguns and long guns. New York also has various restrictions placed on magazines and carrying firearms in public, all laws that Florida does not have.
These laws have a huge effect on the number of gun deaths per state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida had 3,100 deaths due to firearms in 2015. However, in New York, the death count due to firearms in 2015 was 850.
Some people believe that the gun laws in Florida do not need to be changed. President Trump suggested on Twitter “the possibility of giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training.’”
However, the chances of a teacher being able to shoot the attacker would be unrealistic. Human error, along with the stress of the situation, would make it hard for the teacher to be able to shoot the attacker correctly.
Along with that, the chance of shooting the wrong person is high, as there are many other innocent students among the attackers.
Not only that, many problems come with arming school staff with firearms. Agile children would be able to take the gun from the teachers. Stressed-out teachers might threaten students.
If guns are given to school staff, it could lead to more accidental gunshot deaths due to having such easy access to guns. According to Aftermath, a group that cleans up blood spills and biohazardous trauma, about 3,800 people in the United States have died due to unintentional shootings.
Along with that, their statistics show that unintentional gunshot deaths are more frequent in states with more guns and easier gun availability.
In order to prevent future deaths due to guns and shooting incidents, gun control laws across the nation should be tightened so that fewer people will have access to firearms.
For Florida and other similar states, background checks should be required and registration for firearms should be required for purchase. While giving teachers guns would seem like a solution, it could lead to more deaths.
Guns should not be easy to obtain due to the danger that they bring towards the general public. Keeping people safe should be a priority for the United States, but allowing such dangerous weapons be kept under flimsy laws or under no laws at all is doing the complete opposite.