What Happened To Gun Control?

Nathan Nayor/Contributing Writer

It has been over two and a half years since the Parkland shooting, which sparked protests around the country pleading for regulations on guns that would prevent these tragedies; yet they ensue, and we have now had a year in which there have been more shootings than days in the year. With no mention of these violent tragedies in either one of the presidential debates, I worry about the lack of discourse leading up to tomorrow’s election.

It is highly disturbing as a student in Miami that politicians have been overlooking this deadly problem. With Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz still not having gone to trial and the government’s general nonchalance towards citizens’ security, it seems that nothing has been done to prevent the losses that have ensued ever since. Public schools have simply reinforced shooter drills, which were already done monthly, as well as enforcing the wearing of IDs, which has not prevented gun violence. The government, both local and national, has failed to provide a functional solution, and we still experience the deaths of nearly 40,000 US residents and citizens each year.  

How would I know if the person I’m voting for will try to ensure my safety? 

The lack of emphasis on the issue throughout the campaigns of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are disappointing, though somewhat expected. As important as Covid and the economy are, they are not the only problems Americans face, and they need to address most issues on both their campaigns and the winner’s next four years in office. With such a high rate of gun violence and deaths in the United States, it is their duty to protect American citizens, and it is still important to discuss ideas for gun legislation that will undermine the inherent violence throughout the nation.

Trump has encouraged gun sales even during the pandemic, and his plan for protecting students was arming adept teachers with guns. Biden has fought for gun control before as senator and had some successes, but the NRA’s hold on the government was so strong that they were able to overpower his bill for universal background checks and certain guns and magazines that carry over 10 bullets.  I would not expect him to get very far with executive orders either, as those can be overturned through checks and balances by the other branches of government.  Local governments have struggled with the very same issues: appeasing the NRA vs. battling the NRA.

Students and parents often experienced anxiety before quarantine, fearing that they would not return home.  Many teachers have expressed concern, and prepared themselves to possibly give up their lives to save their students. It appears to be either forgotten and silenced now, with all the suffering that schools are still experiencing being swept under the rug for either a political agenda or ignorance.  

This has voters like me begging the question: how would I know if the person I’m voting for will try to ensure my safety?  The safest bet is to research each candidate on their policies, but even then, I have my doubts about who will actually act on those policies — especially here in Florida, which is notorious for its crazy headlines. It is recommended to research candidates before voting.  Democrats are known for being vocal for gun control, but we still see ample gun violence in blue states.  

I do hope that whoever gets voted in on November 3, be it president, mayor, judge, or representative, does their best to actually protect the citizens of the United States and the others who inhabit it, but I am not optimistic that they will, given the powerful lobbies’ hold over the politicians responsible for enacting change. Given the failure of both major presidential candidates to announce their plans for gun control and citizen safety, I am not optimistic. Politicians have simply set such a low bar for safety, especially in the past year with COVID, that I do not expect any change in the oncoming four years.

It is the duty of those in office; presidential, mayoral, governor, etc; to ensure the safety of everyone they govern over, yet they have failed time and time again.  When quarantine is lifted and students return to school, we will not only have to fear being shot dead as per usual, but will also have to fear catching COVID from a careless classmate and unknowingly spreading it to my loved ones.

It is important not to forget all the dangers we face as students, and we must hold our politicians accountable and make sure they stay away from the NRA’s manipulative money so that we can live the safe lives we should be guaranteed as the youth of America. 


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

Photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr.

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