Recent shootings call for legislative change

Legal action is needed to prevent gun violence

21 weeks. 214 mass shootings. 17,300 lives lost. On May 14, 10 people were killed while shopping in a Buffalo supermarket while the shooting was live-streamed on Twitch. Just 10 days later, 21 more were killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Taking the lives of common citizens and students has become appallingly normal in our country, and the time we do something about it is long overdue. 

We said ‘enough’ after Sandy Hook, where 26 elementary school children and teachers were killed, treating the wounds of mourning parents with thoughts and prayers instead of government action. That was 10 years ago, and it seems as if the country imposes new thoughts and prayers every week. We put the 26 lives lost and numerous of those affected in our thoughts and prayers. It’s time for real change in legislation. 

According to the Washington Post, 27 school shootings have occurred in the last five months—more than one per week on average. In response to shootings, schools started conducting lockdown drills, which isn’t nearly enough. Educational institutions should not have to spend their time training their children to hide under desks, cram into corners, turn off classroom lights and stay quiet for minutes on end. American students deserve the right to learn, grow and prosper without the fear that they may be next. 

McLean High School is not exempt from the possibility of a school shooting. There has been a shooter threat in the past school year, and the potential of the threat becoming a reality proved to be frightening. 

“When I first heard about the shooter threats I was overwhelmed and anxious,” freshman Esma Djutovic said. “It scared me to think about the possibilities of McLean being a target and [that] students could be at risk.” 

Mass school shootings such as Columbine High School, Sandy Hook and now Robb Elementary School have brought conversation about how the United States should take action to combat the constant violence in schools. According to a Washington Post database, in 2020, “firearms became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers, supplanting car accidents.” Government officials in support of gun control have brought possible solutions to the table: more in-depth background checks, raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21 and even banning semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s, the gun used in the Uvalde shooting. Advocates of gun control have been fighting for change since Sandy Hook in 2012, but it seems that little to no change has been implemented and lives continue to be lost to a completely controllable issue each day. 

However, the future generation looks promising. On Thursday, May 26, McLean students held a walkout to remember the lives lost at Robb Elementary School and protest for change. 

“First comes empathy, but then we have anger,” said sophomore Michael Norton, one of the organizers of the walkout.  “We don’t understand why this is still such a relevant issue after years and years of losing lives.

Students do not deserve to be burdened with the ambiguity of their safety at school. Despite two mass shootings occurring in the past week, the National Rifle Association (NRA)  will still hold its annual convention in Houston, Texas from May 27-29, just 277 miles away from Uvalde. It’s time to abandon our thoughts and prayers and meet gun violence with legislative change.