Uvalde school shooting: the need for gun reform

Establishing new laws that promote gun safety and restrictions will likely help to reduce the number of school shootings and save lives.

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The deadly shooting in Uvalde is not the only mass killing that has occurred within schools.

On May 24, nineteen children between the ages nine and eleven and two teachers died in a school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The 18-year-old gunman was carrying an AR-15 style rifle.

Eleven-year-old Miah Cerrillo is a survivor of the school shooting. Cerrillo described how she had to smear herself with her classmate’s blood and act dead in order to protect herself from the shooter. 

No child should ever have to live through what Cerrillo experienced.

This deadly shooting in Uvalde is not the only mass killing that has occurred within schools. According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, between 1970 and 2022, there have been 2,054 school incidents in the United States involving firearms – some being fatal, some not. 

K-12 School Shooting Database
There have been 2,054 school incidents in the United States involving firearms – some being fatal, some not.

The need for gun reform is evident. Obtaining a gun is known to be quite simple in the United States, which increases the chances of a threatening person getting ahold of a gun and using it in a dangerous manner. Less than 1% of checks on someone trying to buy a gun have been rejected.

Yes, this low percentage of rejection implies that many of the gun buyers are capable of responsibly owning a gun. However, this low percentage also implies that it is extremely easy for a dangerous person to successfully buy a gun, as long as they do not have previous criminal records or obvious signs of mental illness. 

Beyond too many innocent children and teenagers have died in the United States from guns, and not enforcing gun restrictions is arguably one of the most effective ways to disregard these victims and their trauma. Continuing to make guns easily accessible allows for the considerable chances of mass shootings to persist. 

Establishing new laws that promote gun safety and restrictions will likely help to reduce the number of school shootings and save lives. Examples of gun safety laws include raising the minimum age for legally obtaining a gun, making new requirements on how people must store their guns at home, and restricting certain sales and manufacturing of guns. 

An anonymous sophomore at Pascack Hills stated, “I think machine guns shouldn’t be available, but a shotgun for hunting is fine. It’s too easy for someone to get a gun so they better make it harder to purchase a gun.”

I think machine guns shouldn’t be available, but a shotgun for hunting is fine. It’s too easy for someone to get a gun so they better make it harder to purchase a gun.”

— Anonymous Hills sophomore

Many people buy guns for various reasons, and the second most common purpose is for hunting. However, despite this reason not having any direct harm on people, it is possible that a person, whether that be the gun owner or someone else who takes the gun, will misuse the firearm in life-threatening ways. 

“I think people should be able to own a gun because it makes us feel safer. Making it harder to buy guns means less people will have protection,” an anonymous senior said. 

I think people should be able to own a gun because it makes us feel safer. Making it harder to buy guns means less people will have protection.”

— Anonymous Hills senior

The most popular reason for owning a gun is for protection. This within itself may be a valid reason for owning a gun, but that does not take away from the fact that harmful people can easily get a gun and wound or kill innocent people with it. 

Controlling the people who could viciously use guns against others is significantly more difficult than controlling the accessibility to guns. This is why gun reform is necessary. Enforcing laws that create more restrictions on the purchasing and possession of guns will help to reduce the number of dangerous people who can own a gun, and therefore will help to save lives.