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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!

Hands+Up%2C+Dont+Shoot%21

WORLD

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!

SOCIAL: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! Americans are gun-crazy and firearm ownership has proliferated, but how many more mass shootings do we have to endure before enough is enough?

Khrista Sayo| Managing Article
February 16, 2018


Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino County. Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Country and Western Concert in Las Vegas. The list keeps growing.

Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Nobody anticipates the last day of their lives. Nobody could have predicted the tragedies that ensued. People doing ordinary things happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This raises the ever-deliberated question: Should stricter gun regulations be enforced?

Some believe that the shooter’s actions could have been prevented if the federal government had dealt with this issue.

How many more slaughterings of innocent lives must we watch for change to take place?

Does the Second Amendment mean mass shootings in America really cannot be prevented?

As long as Americans have the right to possess firearms, gun violence and resulting deaths will be widespread.

The U.S. Constitution was amended with The Bill of Rights in 1789 to further protect the individual rights of the American people.

The Second Amendment proclaims, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The convolutedness of the statement has led to a never-ending controversy. In fact, statements in the clause contradict each other. A right that “shall not be infringed” by the government cannot also be “well regulated” by the same institution.

During the time that the amendment was written, Americans feared an authoritarian government that could impose its will upon them.

“But it’s a different world we live in today.”

Today’s guns are not the same muskets and rifles of the 18th century. Weapons have become more deadly and destructive than ever before. Easily obtainable firearms are capable of killing dozens in just a matter of seconds.

During the era of the American Revolution, colonists faced a realistic threat from the tyrannical British government that was jeopardizing their liberties.

When the Second Amendment was written, the founders were trying to ensure the security of the people against a potentially oppressive government.

Some may interpret “a well regulated Militia,” as the military and national guard which already serve to protect our freedoms.

Others consider the “militia” to be the people of America. Even today, some citizens feel compelled to defend themselves against what they view as a potentially abusive government.

But giving civilians the power to defend themselves from the government by bearing firearms endangers our society. Fighting violence with more violence only leads to more death and more destruction.

Politics and the rule of law should protect individual rights against the government. By strengthening the political voice of the people and electing officials that advocate the will of the voters, people will be protected on a broader scale.

According to Mr. Robert Crosby, History Department Chairman, the fear that the government will use violence to infringe upon its people is irrational. The founders adopted a constitution and vouched to further protect people’s rights by amending it with the Bill of Rights.

Creating a world where guns are not necessary is the only way to ensure everyone’s safety and protect against potential danger.

Those in favor of gun rights use the claim, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

While this may be true, giving people access to lethal weapons makes them dangerous. The guns themselves may not kill, but when they are placed in the hands of a madman, a killer is born.

It is highly unlikely that the Second Amendment will ever be nullified. Too many are in favor of possessing firearms and will not agree to give up that right.

With that said, further regulating guns—but not necessarily taking guns away—can be a step towards a solution. Tougher laws can still be enacted to regulate firearms before and after they are purchased.

“There should be stricter control on guns,” said Mr. Crosby. “Buyers should get background checks and be required to register, and we should have more limitations on ammunition and magazine size.”

The federal government should adopt same firearms regulations that California has in place, according to Mr. Crosby, not preventing purchases but prolonging the process of acquiring them.

At Van Nuys High School, we had our own gun scare in October. A student threatened to “kill everyone at VNHS” on SnapChat.

A screenshot of the threat spread like wildfire, stimulating buzz across social media as concerned students tried to warn their peers about the potential threat.

Considering the event occurred at approximately 8 p.m., students were unsure whether it would be safe to go to school the next day.

Imminent fear of a school shooter suddenly cast as shadow over the school. A mass shooting was no longer just a story told on the news but a real possibility.

And while the screenshot was thankfully deemed a hoax, such a threat is no laughing matter.

The reality is that life in our gun-crazy country means that anyone can be shot anywhere, at any time. Such a reality might be terrifying, but such emotions can lead to action.

A safer future for everyone means getting a handle on the problem before the next mass shooting occurs.

Gun control is everyone’s issue because it directly affects everyone’s lives and shapes the world we live in today.

Stricter gun regulations must start now. How many more families have to say goodbye to their loved ones because of guns?


Khrista Sayo serves as the Managing Editor for The Mirror. She has participated since her junior year and is currently a senior. Her article about college discrimination in the admissions process won an Honorable Mention for the 2017 NSPA Story of the Year Award.

Maintaining a generally liberal aspect has primarily influenced her writing, and she hopes to major in Political Science to stay conscientious about government activity.

In addition to her involvement in Journalism, Khrista is also a member of the Van Nuys Dance Company. She enjoys spending time with her friends, watching movies, and napping on her free time.


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