The Gun Dilemma

The nation is up in arms in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the country is being torn apart.

Since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, over 200 school shootings have occurred in the United States, the recent Parkland shooting one of several to have already happened in 2018 alone.

With each shooting, the citizens and lawmakers of the country break out in debate regarding a plethora of issues relating to guns.

With the safety of students at school becoming an increasingly pressing issue, dating back to the Columbine Massacre, many have come out with the opinion that school staff, specifically teachers, should be allowed to carry firearms.

Senior Patricia Hickman feels teachers should indeed be permitted to carry firearms on campus.

“I think that teachers and staff should be allowed to have firearms at school, just in case a shooter were to show up,” Hickman said. “This would grant students reinsurance that the school and staff could protect them during an attack incase a cop can’t.”

Teacher and Librarian Yvette Davis is against the notion that school staff should be permitted to carry firearms. She feels that allowing them to do so may be both dangerous and inefficient.

“I’m really uncomfortable with that idea, and am unsure of how that would look in an education environment and how the responsibility would be handled,” Davis said. “There is a lot of emotional volatility in this environment, and I feel as if teachers could be easily overpowered and their weapons would be mute if multiple people were to gang up on them.”

Junior Lindsey Skyler feels firearms should be allowed to be carried by staff members within the school, but only to an extent.

“I think that only certain staff should be allowed to carry any kind of firearm, even if it’s for defense,” Skyler Said. “It may make students uncomfortable.”

Some feel that school districts should hire more resource officers as opposed to arming school staff. A resource officer herself, Deputy Adrian Stone agrees strongly with hiring additional officers.

“I’ve got thousands of kid and five schools,” Stone exclaimed. “I’m one person, and when I leave a school, who’s there to protect the students?”

There have also been a greater number of mass shootings outside of schools in recent years. Another topic of hot debate is whether or not the average citizen should be allowed to possess assault rifles and military grade or military-esque weapons. These classes of firearms have become almost synonymous with mass shootings, able to create multiple victims within an instant. Some feel that restricting what guns a person may own is a betrayal of the Second Amendment, which allows citizens of the United States the right to bear arms.

Davis supports the Second Amendment, but also supports limitations on who can buy guns and what kind of guns they can buy.

“Twenty-one seems like an ideal age for the purchase of certain types of firearms, but I also feel that assault rifles have no place among the commoners,” Davis said. “They’re weapons of war, and I’m not sure why we’re carrying them on our streets and making them available.”

Many have called for more extensive background checks for those trying to purchase guns, and some have requested in depth psychological screenings. Stone agrees with both statements, and feels that at the current time, screenings are particularly shallow.

“People are asked if they have psychological issues when they go to get a [gun] permit, but a person with actual issues is gonna say they have none,” Stone said. “I had to take a psychological test at a firm, and it lasted hours – and if I didn’t pass, I didn’t get to carry a gun. Maybe if the public had to pass a test as in depth or almost as in depth as law enforcement, dangerous qualities could be seen before something is allowed to happen.”