New gun control laws a step in the right direction

Eduardo Alvarez/ Contributing Writer

Far be it from me to think that the Florida Senate’s recent gun reforms are enough to do away with the scourge of gun violence. But this is how politics works: big change never comes overnight.

With that in mind, the decision to raise the firearm age from 18 to 21 and impose a three-day wait period for gun buyers is an impressive short term achievement, especially when considering that it was provoked by the indignation of countless teenagers.

But for gun control activists’ general goals, this new law is certainly not enough.

For one, it doesn’t ban assault rifles, whose destructive potential I need not explain. It also seeks to arm certain teachers. Mind you, this would not mean that every teacher in the school would have a nine millimeter next to their progress reports, but it does mean that instructors whose duties extend outside the classroom, like a coach, could potentially be armed.

The bill also includes some provisions for mental health and community bonding, all of which seem to be an effort to satisfy a wider margin of people and their many theories of why gun violence is such a problem in the United States. They are far-reaching, but not comprehensive in any particular area.

So let’s break the measures down one by one. Raising the firearm age could stop some murderers, but not the ones patient enough to wait three years. It could be a window of time long enough for the person’s murderous tendencies to be noticed by someone.

It could also make it so that some would be killers get arrested for illegally purchasing a weapon. All in all though, I think it’ll make a minor impact. We’ve seen murderers of every age and many of them give no red flags reflecting the devil within them.

Now, the three-day wait period. This is the most positive change of them all. If a person whose behavior has been suspicious has to wait three days to buy their gun, then law enforcement may have enough time to put two and two together. But if the weapon is bought instantly, it may be too late.

Arming teachers is a terrible idea. Under this measure, murderers may not even have to buy guns; they could just pick one from the school’s gun tree.

And fighting mental illness is important, but we have to be careful how we do so and not make mental illness synonymous with gun violence. Otherwise millions of decent, suffering people will be branded and isolated.

Personally, I think the main problem lies in the few restrictions for gun purchase. Now, this doesn’t mean our target should be the second amendment.

The right to bear arms is fundamental in a free society, but rights entail responsibilities. America must have filters, both public and private, to ensure that those who buy guns are trained, mentally stable and have a clean criminal record. And I feel optimistic that this will soon be the case.

Not because of the laws that were just passed, but because of the young people who, through their passion, have made change happen.

They have had enough, and the government has been forced to act. I believe this will renovate our public discourse in relation to gun control, and will make us feel the urgency of the problem. I am sure that, because of them, lives will be saved.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

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