The Surveyor

Staff Editorial: Gun Control

Crowd+of+Washington+students+at+the+February+21st+walkout.
Crowd of Washington students at the February 21st walkout.

Crowd of Washington students at the February 21st walkout.

Paul Schneidermann

Paul Schneidermann

Crowd of Washington students at the February 21st walkout.


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We believe that America should have better gun control laws. 2018 has been a wake up call to people all over our country, we need more effective gun control. In light of the recent shootings, a change is needed now more than ever to keep civilians safe. Something is wrong, and needs to be fixed one way or another, hopefully a way that is effective in preventing teens from getting a gun.

There have been 98 people who have died in mass shootings in 2018, and over 150 people injured, and we aren’t even four months in to the new year. There have been walkouts all over this country, including at Washington High School. Every person who attends these walkouts has a different opinion and reason they walkout, as do the people who don’t walkout, but we think that something should change in our system.

In the state of Iowa, almost any person can buy a rifle at the age of 18, this includes the AR-15’s that are popular for committing some of the most devastating mass shootings in America. It is illegal to buy a handgun or its ammunition until someone is 21 years old. We think that it should be illegal to buy any gun until one is 21, there are reasons that one isn’t allowed to drink or buy a handgun until age 21, so why is buying a rifle any different?

We are by no means saying that guns should be banned, but we think that pushing back the legal age is a first step in the right direction, an idea that could help the country stay a bit safer. “There is no one solution, there’s a lot of issues in our system that need to be fixed,” said Paul Linville, ‘19. Linville was one of the students who organized and spoke at the Washington Walkout after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. To him, this isn’t what party someone chooses to side with, it’s a problem of keeping Americans safe in their own country.

Currently there is the debate of  ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’ We think that guns give people the power to kill other people. “Of course people kill people. But it’s a lot easier for ‘people’ to kill in massive numbers quickly and efficiently when they’re armed with a weapon that is nearly military grade,” said Miriam Ochs, ‘18. Ochs was also a main organizer and speaker at the walkout. When someone has access to a handgun, that gun can do much less harm in a shooting than a rifle would do, but one would need to be three years older to buy that handgun.

What use does someone have for a semi-automatic rifle? The assault-style guns don’t have a purpose for the everyday American citizen, but they are legally allowed to buy a near military grade gun if they are adults.  There are attachments that can turn a semi-automatic rifle into a near fully-automatic rifle. “The use of guns for hunting and at recreational shooting ranges is perfectly okay in my book, but one does not need an assault weapon for these activities,” said Ochs.

Six of the ten most deadly mass shootings in the United States history have been committed by a person with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. All of these six shootings have taken place in the last six years, but nothing has changed in terms of our country’s gun control laws, nothing has happened to keep Americans safe from these violent weapons that an 18 year old is legally able to buy. In fact, the country hasn’t seen much effective change since Columbine, a mass school shooting in 1999.

We believe that our country’s gun control laws could see some improvement in light of recent events. We believe that being older to buy a gun and citizens not having easy access to near military grade weapons are a few vital steps in the right direction towards our country’s safety.

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Staff Editorial: Gun Control