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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PATEL: Eliminating Firearms is the Only Way to End Gun Violence

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

This story contains editorial content regarding gun control regulations in light of current events.

Many parents would drop their kids off at Robb Elementary School like any other day on Tuesday, May 24, in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. However, for some parents, it would be the last time they saw their child alive.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School is amongst the 250 mass shootings the U.S. has experienced halfway through 2022, and is the second most deadly school shooting in the U.S. ever.

The shooting at the school claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers. There was only one way this all could’ve been prevented: restricting guns. 

Under the Gun Control Act in the U.S., individuals as young as 18 can purchase firearms, rifles and ammunition as many times as they want. By the time they turn 21, they have even more access to various types of guns. Vendors in all but six states and Washington, D.C. do not perform any background checks and require permits to buy guns. Some states require permits for only handguns. This means legally, anyone, even those who are unsuitable to handle a weapon, over the age of 18 can own a gun under the Second Amendment. 

However, age definitely plays a huge factor in gun violence. By 18, the prefrontal cortex of the brain isn’t done maturing. It fully matures by 25. That’s where most of the rational judgment and core thinking is done. Research shows the key difference between a fully developed adult brain and a developing teenager’s brain is emotions. A teenage brain is more wired to act based on compulsions and emotions rather than adequate thought and judgment. 

A person is best fit to own a gun when they are able to think rationally about the potential consequences of their actions. They know how to use a gun safely and in which scenarios would it be appropriate to use one. Additionally, they take responsibility for the gun and keep it in a safe space.

When people purchase cars, the most important type of validation is valid proof of a driver’s license that is up to date. With guns, there should be a similar sort of exam and license to test maturity, competency and ability to obtain and own a gun. For example, the person needs to pass an exam on gun safety and get their mental health evaluated by a provider to prove they are fit for handling a weapon.

Guns, ideally, should belong in the hands of law enforcement who are properly trained and certified to use firearms. When a person needs a gun for recreational activities, such as hunting, companies should resort to renting out firearms to maintain better control. By reducing the number of guns owned by people who aren’t trained to use them correctly, it can significantly reduce gun violence rates. 

Students deserve the freedom and liberty to live life with zero fear of being shot as generations before them once did. They deserve to be able to follow their dreams and aspirations without the concern that a stray bullet can take it all away from them.

The solution to this issue is definitely not scanning and searching children and faculty as if they were being screened by TSA at an airport. This only adds to the fear of a potential shooting in a place where children are supposed to feel the safest. Security, such as scanners and guards, should definitely be heightened when a stranger, someone who visibly is not a student or holds a valid badge identifying them as a staff member, wishes to enter a school building and should be thoroughly screened discreetly upon entering to maintain safety without raising concern and fears.

Giving teachers access to firearms is not a way to combat this problem either. This will increase fears in the classroom. We do not know the competency of certain teachers and owning a firearm. Teachers were trained to properly teach students, and knowing how to handle a firearm is not in their job description, nor is it part of their college education.

Furthermore, having an excessive number of firearms in the classroom could lead them to falling into the wrong hands.  The solution is not to fight fire with fire, but to eliminate the number of firearms in total.

It is such a tragedy that mass shootings have found their way inside classrooms, robbing children of their futures. The best way to truly combat this problem is by simply reducing the number of firearms in the access of the public, and making sure that only certified people can get firearms. To show support for all the innocent lives lost in gun violence, we have to minimize access to firearms everywhere. Imagine sending your child to school and having them come back in a casket, all while knowing their death could’ve easily been prevented. It shouldn’t have to come to that.

This story was written by Krisha Patel. she can be reached at [email protected].

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