Editorial: Students didn’t sign up to live in fear of gun violence

Editorial Board

All around the United States, students hear gunshots ring in dorms, classrooms, school bathrooms and all around their campuses. No one deserves to feel that fear, especially in a space that is supposed to be a safe learning environment. Even if one isn’t hurt or has no loved ones affected, it doesn’t erase the trauma of such an event. Gun violence has been a deadly, yet preventable plague on our society and especially on our youth. Gun control has never been more necessary.

On Feb. 13, a lone gunman, 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, shot and injured five students at Michigan State University (MSU) and killed three. It’s also unfortunately not surprising that there are students at MSU who had also survived the 2021 Oxford High School shooting, making it their second school shooting they had directly experienced.

Society is not fulfilling its function when students are not protected. It’s clear something has to be done. But, people have been saying this for years, and have advocated for better gun control laws every time a tragedy occurs. Nothing changes. We should not be worried that experiencing a mass public shooting is a very real possibility. Our government is, as such, directly responsible for the fact that we are raising entire generations of people that have been traumatized by unchecked gun sales and nonexistent mental health screenings for potential threats.

It is clear that gun ownership is the real issue: Why do peace loving people need assault weapons?

Yet, the “right to bear arms” is what people consider a fundamental right, instead of the right to live in general. Anti-gun control people blatantly refuse to accept that the Second Amendment was created at a time when assault rifles did not exist and that those who wrote it probably did not imagine the right to bear arms would lead to mass killings of children. So, how many more people have to pay for political agendas? 

This is an issue that is so prevalent, that on the day of the MSU shooting, our very own Case Western Reserve University was locked down due to a man armed with a gun. Tensions were already high on our campus the same day MSU was devastated by the shooting. It’s blatantly awful for us to continue living in fear and worry, especially when our peers are being slaughtered. 

We need to make a change in our society to stop allowing this to happen, and laws and policies put in place that make a real difference. But the death of our children does not seem to be enough to sway the Republican House majority to vote on legislation that would prevent these unnecessary deaths. While the previous Democrat-controlled Congress did pass minor gun control legislation last year with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, it was very bare-bones and only slightly increased background check requirements. It also, in an act of cowardice, only incentivized states to implement red flag laws rather than forcing them to actively protect their citizens. And it’s not just our federal legislature. The U.S. Supreme Court is actively interfering with states that put in their own gun control laws, such as when they struck down the state of New York’s laws limiting guns in public. This, of course, is not a problem for our own state of Ohio, as we only seem to be making gun control laws even looser. Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law last year that allowed all Ohio residents to carry guns around them in public without a permit. Additionally, DeWine signed a bill—theoretically to stop school shootings—by allowing teachers to be armed in schools. This not only is a slap in the face to school shooting survivors, but increases the dangers of school shootings happening in schools.

According to the Pew Research Center, “around half of Americans (48%) see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today.” However, to combat this problem, we seem to have representatives who truly do not represent or care about the American people.

For now, we can only continue to use our voice and vote to elect representatives that can stop the tragic and preventable school shootings that afflict our nation.