Action against gun violence is imperative

Lauri Hoedl, Opinion editor

On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. This tragic event has caused an even greater call for gun control than before.

Action needs to be taken in order to restrict the types of guns available to people and to increase the limitations on buying a gun.

According to Everytown, a nonprofit organization for gun control and against gun violence, there have been seven school shootings so far in 2018 under the category of “attack on other persons(s) resulting in injury or death.”

Eighteen different occasions have occurred in which a gun has been fired at a school.

These statistics are completely unacceptable, especially considering the fact that 2018 is only two months in.

Though there are many different approaches to stop this problem, the main request is change of some sort. It is often argued whether school shootings are a gun issue or a mental heath issue when, in fact, they are usually both.

It is unacceptable that the 19-year-old Stoneman Douglas shooter legally bought an AR-15 in Florida, even with his record of misbehavior and mental health issues.

AR-15s have no place in the hands of civilians. An article in USA Today said, “The National Rifle Association (NRA) has called the AR-15 — the semi-automatic, civilian version of the military’s M-16 —the ‘most popular rifle in America’ and estimates Americans own more than 8 million of them.”

A military style weapon with the capability to be easily customized to be made even more dangerous should not be on the market.

The survivors of the Parkland shooting have called for politicians, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio not to accept the NRA’s contributions. Though Rubio has refused to decline their money, many corporations are stepping up and ending their relationships with the NRA.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has raised the age for buying a gun to 21 and has stopped selling assault-style weapons. Walmart has also raised their age to 21 and has decided to stop selling anything, including toys, that resemble assault-style weapons.

On March 14 and April 20, nationwide student walk-outs are occurring to demand change. There will be students at Olathe South participating in the April 20 walk-out, starting at 10 a.m.

There will also be a March for Our Lives on March 24 in Kansas City at Theis Park at noon. These events are occurring in order to demand change and to try to end the school shooting epidemic.

Schools should be safe learning environments, not places where hundreds of students are slaughtered a year.

In order to fix this issue, politicians need to stop with “thoughts and prayers” and instead demand policy and change. Students and teachers need to keep the conversation going and make sure action is taken.