Let’s pump the breaks on the gun control push

Tyler Seibold, Staff Reporter

In response to the February 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many politicians and activists have called for the ban of all semi-automatic weapons in the United States. Instead of creating mass chaos in the country by rounding up an incredible amount of weapons, let’s examine what can be easily fixed to prevent atrocities like this from happening again.

Let’s be brutally honest. If the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI had followed up on tips reported to their respective departments about the shooter, he would have been stopped before he could have had the opportunity to perpetrate this heinous act. CNN has reported that the sheriff’s office received a total of 45 reports about the shooter and his brother. It is unacceptable that law enforcement received so much information about the shooter and his threats and did not act accordingly. According to multiple national media outlets and students at the school, there was an officer who stood outside the school for at least three minutes while gunshots rang out in the hallways of Stoneman Douglas. While the officer may not have been able to stop the shooting as a whole, he could have prevented further damage and help endangered students get proper shelter. Law enforcement failed to do their job. If they had, they could have saved the lives of 17 innocent students and educators.  

There’s also an interesting proposal making the rounds in the media and on Capitol Hill. David French at National Review suggested an institution of gun-violence restraining orders. He says there are five elements to the orders that must be included to be effective. His keys are

1) It should limit those who have standing to seek the order to close relatives, those living with the respondent, and perhaps also school principals or employers.

2) It should require petitioners to come forward with clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is a significant danger to himself or others.

3) It should grant the respondent an opportunity to contest the claims against him.

4) In the event of an emergency, ex parte order, a full hearing should be scheduled quickly — ideally within 72 hours.

5) The order should lapse after a defined period of time (30 days would be acceptable) unless petitioners can produce clear and convincing evidence of continued need.”

This proposal allows for swift action against a person who is believed to be a danger to society. I think this idea would significantly decrease not only mass shootings, but many domestic disputes that take place on a daily basis.

I can’t imagine the pain and suffering students at Marjory Stoneman have endured. Their activism after this tragedy is admirable. However, policy cannot be formed out of emotional feelings. Taking a large amount of guns from an overwhelming amount of law-abiding citizens is ultimately not the answer. If laws are actually enforced, and families take a “see something, say something” approach with close relatives of theirs, restrictions of gun rights will not be necessary.