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Grant Stegman

What has been done since the Parkland Massacre?


Two months have passed since Parkland’s horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since then, students from the school and around the country have come together to demand change from our lawmakers and the NRA. The March for our Lives team orchestrated a nationwide movement studded with top hit celebrities. But on the floor of Congress, is any change taking place?

Short answer; not much. Florida has passed gun control legislation banning bumpstocks (what makes a semi-automatic firearm automatic), raising the minimum purchasing age to 21, creating a waiting period, and arming teachers. Many parts to this law are beneficial and what many gun control activists want, but arming teachers has been a point of contention.

The concept of arming teachers has been widely accepted by conservatives and the NRA, the number one political action committee and pro-gun sales group in the USA. Some groups believe that by having a gun in the classroom, teachers will be better equipped to stop the shooter at the door. Other groups believe that by having a gun in the classroom, students would be in more danger due to crossfire from the intruder and the teacher. Teachers could also be mistaken for the shooter if police come across them with a gun in their hands.

Meanwhile, Marjory Stoneman Douglas has come up with their own safety precautions. Teachers have metal detecting wands, everyone is searched before entering the school, and students have been issued transparent backpacks. The backpacks have been a point of serious controversy, and the students are not happy. Many of the students believe that the clear backpacks are an invasion of privacy and they only give the illusion of safety. Students have been protesting the clear backpacks with the backpacks themselves, putting messages in pockets and carrying around taboo items such as tampons or condoms.

Will nationwide gun control ever pass Congress? It’s hard to tell. Politicians feel the fire from protesters threatening to vote them out, but others would rather buy into their sources of donations to appease them, such as the NRA or other special interest groups.

What the students from Parkland and all around the United States want is gun reform that tightens the reigns on just how easy it is to purchase a gun. Florida has began to make great strides in common sense gun reform, but there are still missing pieces. The gun show loophole is not closed, domestic abusers can still buy a gun, along with other cracks in the system yet to be fixed. It will take a long time to perfect the law and pass it, but if (and when) it passes, America will be much safer.

About Harley Atchison

Harley is the senior editor of the Pelladium for the 2017-2018 school year. Direct any questions or comments to harley.atchison@student.pella.k12.ia.us.