Approved by a 10-0 vote of the Scroll editorial board.
Nearly three weeks since 17 students and faculty members were murdered in Florida, talk of gun control is as prevalent as ever. Republicans and Democrats alike are discussing changes to be made to prevent massacres like this from happening again.
“We can’t wait and play games and nothing gets done,” said President Donald Trump at the beginning of the session with 17 House and Senate lawmakers. “We want to stop the problems.”
Trump also criticized lawmakers for being too fearful of the National Rifle Association to take action, according to the Washington Post.
While some of Trump’s ideas of gun control — such as arming teachers — are a bit outlandish, we at Scroll commend the nation’s president for seeing the need for change.
We believe in protecting the amendments, but we understand there are conditions to every law.
As journalists, perhaps the most important amendment to us is the First Amendment. We believe in the protection of our freedom of speech. However, we understand why we cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater or post hate speech on social media.
Just as there is a line to draw in our freedom of speech, so should there be in our right to bear arms.
Trump also called for stronger background checks before obtaining a gun, which the NRA has taken as a personal attack.
“They hate the NRA,” said Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, according to BBC. “They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom.”
LaPierre told BBC that, as usual, opportunists couldn’t wait just one second to exploit tragedy for political gain.
The Gun Violence Archive reported that since the start of the year, there have been 18 gun-related incidents on school grounds in the U.S. alone. That’s an average of two incidents a week. While not every one of these resulted in mass casualty, the easy accessibility to guns cannot be ignored.
Families and friends around the nation have had their lives forever shattered. They have lost sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.
This should absolutely be political. If there’s something lawmakers can do to help prevent these tragedies in the future, they should do it. There have been too many victims and too much suffering for those so-called “opportunists” to not do anything.
If you don’t think mass shootings could ever happen to you, you’re mistaken. Every day, there are gun threats in Eastern Idaho. We have experienced scares here at BYU-Idaho. Oftentimes, those threats are empty. But we never know when a bad joke can turn fatal.
Standing behind Trump’s suggestion for stronger background checks does not mean we as the editorial board want every gun owner to lose their arms. We stand behind the Second Amendment. We do not stand behind how easy it is for someone who is mentally unstable or has a history of violence to obtain a gun.
If we want America to be safer by closing our borders or demanding background checks for immigrants; if we want to protect our citizens from terrorism, we must start within our own borders. We must ask ourselves what we can do to limit the number of terrorists with U.S. citizenship.
We must put ourselves in the shoes of the parents, children, students and faculty members who will always remember Valentine’s Day as an anniversary of the worst day of their lives.
No one ever expects this to happen to them. If we never do anything, we never know when a shooting might just hit too close to home.