From conservative culture to liberal thinking: Students’ perspective on the national gun debate
A person dies every 15 minutes from gun violence in the United States and our country suffers from the most mass shootings in the world. There have already been 18 school shootings in America in the first 43 days of 2018. Comprehensive legislation that includes gun control and mental health reform is needed now more than ever. While we recognize the significance of the Second Amendment, assault rifles have become a mechanism for those who wish to kill the innocent. The youth will not become another statistic that you read about in textbooks, but rather the basis for ensuing change within our society. That is what our children will read about when they are in school.
Growing up in southern Delaware, we have been exposed to gun culture our entire lives. Living in a conservative county, gun advocates were prevalent. Never did we worry about our school being the next site for a mass shooting. That is, until Sandy Hook and the ensuing 63 school shootings that have taken place since 2013, according to Time Magazine. We can no longer stand helpless and watch these atrocities continue to occur. Our siblings deserve to go to school without fear of an attack.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, the time has come for a new generation to take a stand in politics. This generation, which includes Millennials and Generation Z, must and will determine the politicians who represent us and be the change the youth desires to see happen. Let’s not forget, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
For mass shootings to end, American culture must change. There is this gun culture that exists in America where any mention of common sense legislation causes Republican influencers and special interest lobbies, like the NRA, to shake their fist at Democrats who threaten to take away their guns. While we do not advocate repealing the Second Amendment, let’s make this problem about saving children and reducing gun violence.
The left and the right need to work together to achieve a solution. A start to this ‘common sense firearm laws’ notion would include expanding background checks, banning bump stocks and increasing the age to buy assault weapons to 21. Congress must enact sensible policies to prevent gun violence, which includes gun control and implementing an assault weapons ban, a measure many Americans want to see put forth.
A current idea being proposed is to arm teachers. Students do not want their teachers armed, nor do teachers want to be armed. The notion that our former math or science teacher could soon be packing a glock is not only out of the mainstream, but outright scary. The younger generation wants a combination of gun control and comprehensive solutions; the time to implement these solutions is not tomorrow, but today. Politicians, from our representation in Washington down to our local electees, should hear our cry for help because students demand action.
Delaware is a beautiful state in many ways, which includes holding many different political views under such a small geographic state. Donald Trump received only 39.5% of votes in New Castle County, but a little over 30 miles south, we are at Sussex County, who rallied 59% of votes for President Trump. Growing up in Sussex County, our childhoods were full of encounters with many gun-owning Americans, of whom were responsible and respectful towards their right to bear arms. We do not believe that the Second Amendment should be repealed, but the Founding Fathers would never have allowed assault rifles to be accessible to the public if they existed in 1791. The most advanced guns in the 18th century could shoot only one round at a time, for up to four in a minute. Guns these simple are scoffed at today, calling for restrictions on what the public really needs. Firearms have evolved over time, but why not have our corresponding laws?
Quinn Ludwicki is a sophomore at the University of Delaware majoring in International Relations and he is also the Student Affairs Editor at The Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ali Mahdi is a junior at the University of Delaware majoring in Economics & Political Science.