The conversation surrounding school shootings has been dominated by the left. This means it has been dominated by talks of gun control. This puts the millions of average Americans on both sides of the aisle in an impossible situation — support their basic Constitutional right or be seen as a sympathizer with school shooters. In actuality, looking at gun control as the sole answer to school shootings takes a narrow approach to a large problem. We must broaden our approach to ending school shootings. If not, we will limit individual rights while failing to solve a very serious problem.

Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, student activists started the March for Our Lives campaign with the mission of enacting gun control to “end school shootings.” According to these student’s mission statement, the U.S. needs more research on gun violence and certain firearms, like assault weapons, must be banned. This mentality ignores the many laws that are already in place to prevent mass shootings that don’t work.

In order to take the life of 10 students at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the shooter stole two firearms from his father, a handgun and a shotgun, and brought homemade explosive devices into the school and surrounding area.

Under Texas law, the Santa Fe shooter, who is 17, cannot purchase either weapon legally. In fact, his father can be charged with criminal negligence for giving his child unrestrained access to the weapons. All schools are considered “gun free zones” unless the district approves of select law enforcement right to carry on campus. Background checks are required by firearms dealers in the state known for some of the most lax gun laws.

Despite all of these laws, the Santa Fe shooter was still able to carry out his brutal attack on the school. It is not just him. A May 2018 report from the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 97.3 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in gun free zones.

Gun control does not stop crime because criminals don’t stop for the law, they break the law.

What gun control does do is limit the Constitutional right of law abiding citizens to defend themselves by any means necessary. It removes a critical element of our culture and dis-empowers individuals who value individual liberty.

In order to actually address school shootings, we must look to approaches that actually solve the problem without limiting rights.

Dr. Sherry Towers and researchers at Arizona State University recommend media not name shooters. This limits the likelihood of a copycat shooter arising for notoriety. Research indicates shootings are deemed “contagious” for the 13-days following a mass public shootings. By bringing attention to victims rather than shooters, we can break the cycle of shootings for attention.

Another solution, which has been tossed around in recent months, is arming teachers. In fact, 14 states have proposed legislation to allow teachers to carry firearms. Florida has passed such legislation. No teacher is forced to carry in the classroom. These laws simply give those who do wish to carry and have proper training to do so the ability to. Considering it is a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, these teachers should have always been allowed to act by any means necessary to protect their students should the time arise.

Other possible solutions to school shootings include regular mental health checks for students and increasing security within schools.

Whatever one believes the solution is, it is clear the options expand far past gun control. Students on the left must realize they are offering solutions that don’t solve mass shootings but do limit the basic rights of law abiding citizens. Our students do deserve better, they deserve solutions that actually work and gun control is not one of them.

NATALIA C
CABINET