Gun control must be implemented to maintain safety of school personal

Hunter Gill, Sports Editor

Columbine. Las Vegas. Blacksburg. Orlando. Sandy Hook. Sutherland Springs.  And now Parkland. Some of the deadliest shootings in American history, and it seems that every month the list gets longer. The difference between Columbine and Parkland is not just the amount of casualties; it is the media coverage and public opinion. The country is stuck in a vicious cycle: there is a shooting, followed by public outcry and calls for gun control, with absolutely no change. How many children need to die before actual change happens?
Parkland is the 18th school shooting of 2018, and it is only February. As of Feb. 15, 20 people have been killed this year alone, with over 30 injured. According to the New York Times,  there have been 239 school shootings nationwide since 2014. 438 people have been shot, 138 of them killed. Since 2014, only six months have passed without a school shooting. These numbers do not even include mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas last year.

A commonly proposed solution by gun advocates is to arm the teachers, but this will lead to more problems than it will solve. To start, all of the training in the world cannot prepare someone to be in an actual shootout, much less to point a gun at someone and end their life; something that a psychotic shooter has no problem doing. The subject of the American Sniper, Chris Kyle, who had 150 confirmed kills in the Iraq war, was shot with a friend before they could even unholster their weapons. A teacher could train for 20 years and still not be as skilled with a weapon as Chris Kyle; how is a teacher supposed to fare any better? Not to mention that 13 were killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting on a military base filled with armed soldiers. Facing down a shooter is no position a teacher should ever be put in.

The real solution to this issue is federal gun control, something that many Republicans refuse out of fear of losing their donations from gun rights groups such as the NRA. The NRA has donated just under seven million dollars to NC Senator Richard Burr during his political career and donated just under four and a half million dollars to NC Senator Thom Tillis; the second and fourth most donated to any current senator in their time serving. They, along with many other Republican senators, put out statements condemning violence while at the same time turning the other cheek for a couple million dollars. Are the lives of schoolchildren being gunned down where they are supposed to be safe worth less than a campaign donation?

Gun control does not require complete removal of guns from civilians hands. Switzerland, who has the fourth highest gun ownership rate in the world, as of 2017,  has a murder rate of only .49 per 100,000 people, compared to the United States rate of 5.3 per 100,000. The difference? Switzerland requires a need-based permit to carry weapons for personal defense and have banned automatic weapons and the majority of semi-automatic weapons. This permit requires no suspicion of the holder endangering himself or others, no past violent crime or multiple non-violent crime convictions and the successful completion of a test showing that the owner has knowledge of the weapon and how to properly carry it. The Swiss laws compromise with lower power hunting and sporting guns, requiring no permit for those.

This is absolutely a compromise that our government could and should make. While it restricts gun ownership, it does not block the fundamental ownership of guns and still restricts the ability for anyone to buy a weapon, no questions asked. In addition to this, the United States should also require extensive background checks of individuals buying semi-automatic weapons and require the permit to be renewed, with a new background check, every 6 months. Any individual that is serious about safely and responsibly owning a gun should have no issue with this process. A slight delay in buying a gun is worth the lives of the 138 brothers, sisters, parents, children and loved ones that have had their lives senselessly due to gun violence in schools alone.