Gun Violence


Rissa Liu

Gun control has become a hotly debated topic this year, with the tragedies of mass shooting violence. According to Gun Violence Archive’s statistic, mortality caused by gun violence raised from 15,139 in 2016 to 20,200 in 2022.

Nazanin Ghiassi, Staff Writer

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“We cannot protect our guns before we protect our children,” survivor of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florence Yarad said.

According to Everytown Research & Policy, 19,000 children and teenagers are shot and killed or injured every year in the United States, with gun violence as the leading cause of death for children in the country. Due to its devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, proper action must be taken in response to gun violence.

Although the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, it does not imply that all citizens should have unrestricted access to weapons. Gun ownership and gun use rights should be considered issues of public safety, to reduce violence. Across America, the vast majority of school shootings have involved individuals with underlying mental health issues. Accordingly, in addition to secure background checks, individuals purchasing guns should undergo a psychological evaluation by a licensed doctoral-level mental health specialist. The evaluation procedure must be based on regulated metrics to ensure that individuals purchasing guns are mentally stable. 

The tragic case of Nikolas Jacob Cruz, who purchased a firearm after turning 18 and used it to commit mass murder at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, highlights the urgent need for stricter gun control measures. On Feb. 14, 2018, he opened fire at the school, injuring 34 individuals in total, and has now been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. 

“If someone was mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said.

Cruz had a history of mental health issues, which should have prevented him from obtaining a gun. Melisa Mcneil, Cruz’s public attorney, described him as a “broken child” with evident issues in his brain development throughout the case. Cruz should not have even been given access to a gun in the first place. He needed psychiatric assistance because he was going through mental issues. 

Schools should be safe places for students across America to grow and learn. Parents expect their children to be safe when they send them to school, but the constant threat of school shootings has left many students fearing for their lives. Audrey Wright was a mother to a student at Oxford High School when a student gunman opened fire in the building on Nov. 30, 2021. She currently oversees a Demand Action Organization that works to advance sensible gun regulations.

“We are the majority and must keep fighting and spreading that message,” Wright said. “If we don’t, we’ve given up – and teachers and moms don’t give up when it comes to their kids.”

Parents expect they are safe when sending their children to school since they are with their teachers.  But after the constant shooting across America, schools are becoming more like death traps for children. Students live in fear for their lives.

The threat of school shootings is evident even here in Irvine, even though Irvine is one of the safest cities in the country. University Park Elementary in Irvine faced a potential threat back in 2015.  

“I was just in third grade when it happened, and I was so puzzled,” junior Sierra Wheaton said. “I could feel the panic that my teacher was experiencing.”

The potential threat of having a school shooting can happen anywhere, even in cities known to be tremendously safe or with an active police force. 

It is due time for specific measures to be put in place to prevent gun violence in schools across America. By enacting stricter gun control laws and ensuring that those purchasing guns undergo thorough psychological evaluations, we can take steps toward a safer future for our children.