Today, Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland High School students, wrote an op-ed for Teen Vogue‘s digital issue. The issue this month is dedicated to “rising voices in the gun control movement, young people who are working on the issue in different ways, all of them impacted by gun violence.”
In her op-ed, entitled “Dear Lawmakers, You’re Killing Us,” Gonzalez blames the deaths of teens in the post-Columbine climate on local and national government who fail to regulate access to guns. She says the NRA feeds people myths about about gun ownership and that organizations cutting ties with the NRA along with the passage of bills allowing funding for more security in schools is not enough.
So what exactly does Emma Gonzalez want?
From her op-ed:
We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system.
It would also benefit us to redefine what assault weapons are so that when we call for a ban against them, it’s clear that we aren’t trying to ban all guns. No one needs to use an assault weapon to protect themselves while walking home at night. No one should be allowed to use an AR-15 to strategically hunt people, which, in case anyone forgot, is what made us speak out in the first place.
She is also adamantly against arming teachers.
How would arming teachers work, logistically?
Would they have to buy their own guns, or would there be armories in schools? Would students be able to break into armories?
While teaching, would a teacher keep their weapon on their person or in a lockbox?
If it was in a lockbox on the other side of the room when a threatening person walked in, would the teacher be able to get to their gun in time?
If the threat and the teacher were in close proximity, would the threat not be able to disarm the teacher and turn the pistol on them and in turn the students?
Why would a student shooter even need to worry about metal detectors or getting patted down if they already know they can overpower the teacher and take that gun for their own use?
If the teacher wasn’t in close proximity, what would stop the teacher’s bullets from hitting other students who might be in the way and obscured by gunsmoke?
And finally, the kicker.
And since there was a resource or police officer on campus to help protect students and teachers, why didn’t that stop 17 people from getting killed and 15 from getting injured on February 14?
Let’s address a few of her solutions.
“We need to digitize gun-sales records.”
This is a dangerous statement. The Second Amendment was created with the idea that someday, the citizens of the United States might need to overthrow a tyrannical government. If said government has a record of every firearm that was purchased and who owns them, that’s scary. They will know exactly where the guns are, who has them and it will be easy to round them up should we ever reach that point in the future.
Also, Americans’ should have a right to privacy that extends to gun ownership. It’s no one’s business but mine, and those I choose to tell, what kind of firearms and how many I own.
“Push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system.”
“If the teacher wasn’t in close proximity, what would stop the teacher’s bullets from hitting other students who might be in the way and obscured by gunsmoke?”
Hopefully the teachers are smart enough and trained well enough not to blindly shoot if they don’t have a clear shot at the shooter.
“And since there was a resource or police officer on campus to help protect students and teachers, why didn’t that stop 17 people from getting killed and 15 from getting injured on February 14?”
Because your school resource officer was a coward and failed to do his job. When you have resource officers who do their jobs the right way, you have a situation like Maryland – the shooter was taken down quickly and effectively.
What she is also missing, as are many people in the anti-gun crowd, are the oversights by the FBI and the local law enforcement in many of the shootings she mentions in her piece. And there are numerous reports that are easily accessible on the web as to just how preventable the Parkland shooting was.
She also fails to address the root of the problem. What is causing our youth to to act out like this? Fifty years ago, students would take guns to school, store them in their lockers and go hunting after class. They didn’t carry out mass shootings and no one thought anything about them bringing their rifles to school. What’s changed? Getting to the root of the problem seems like the best solution. You can legislate guns all you want, but you can’t legislate morality.
Emma Gonzalez seems like a smart young woman. She’s well spoken and no one can blame her for demanding change. Seventeen innocent young adults had their lives snuffed out in an instant and it should never have happened.
Keep asking those questions, Emma because they’re helpful for discussion. But when you ask a question, be willing to listen to the other side too. America does not work on mob rule and when you call for measures that infringe upon the rights of others, it’s a pretty big deal.
As someone once said, my rights don’t end where your feelings begin.