The Gatepost Editorial: Thoughts and prayers can’t fix this

Many high schoolers woke up on Valentine’s Day hoping to receive heart-shaped chocolates or singing Valentines from their crushes. For students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it was the day when 17 students and faculty members were killed by a gunman.

After the shooting, President Donald Trump said in a press briefing he will be visiting Parkland, Florida to “help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

Mass shootings aren’t just about mental health or school safety protocols. The discussion must also address gun control.

Thus far, Trump has been silent on the issue of gun control.

And he shouldn’t be.

In 2018 alone, there have been 30 mass shootings in the United States according to the Gun Violence Archive.

And it’s only February.

In recent years, many of the perpetrators of these heinous mass shootings have used automatic weapons with the purpose of killing as many people as they could. These automatic guns have caused so many fatalities. There is no reason for an individual to own and operate a military-style automatic weapon such as the AR-15 used by the shooter in Parkland.

Automatic weapons are designed for warfare.

This individual was able to legally obtain an AR-15 with ease. The New York Times reported that in Florida, it is easier to buy an automatic gun than it is to purchase a handgun, which requires a three-day waiting period.

Additionally, you must be 21 to buy a handgun, while semi-automatic weapons can be purchased legally at 18.

The perpetrator of the shooting was 19. He was able to purchase an automatic weapon, magazines and ammunition, even though his social media presence and personal history had put him on the radar of the FBI twice, CNN reported.

His actions at his former school were troubling enough to expell him.

Despite all these warning signs, he was able to buy an automatic weapon over a year ago.

Some on Capitol Hill seem to think there should be a grace period before discussions of gun control begin after a mass shooting. In an interview on Fox News, Texas senator Ted Cruz said, “The reaction of Democrats to any tragedy is to try to politicize it.”

Given there have been 30 mass shootings in the last 47 days, we don’t have time for a grace period before discussing the gun violence problem in America. The shocking statistics concerning gun violence should be evidence enough the problem here isn’t just mental health or school safety protocols.

It’s time for members of Congress to prevent citizens from purchasing automatic weapons and modifiers.

It’s time for legislators to acknowledge the only way to prevent tragedy is through gun control legislation.

It’s time for citizens to acknowledge their 2nd amendment rights aren’t being threatened by the removal of automatic weapons from the market.

It’s time for everyone to realize that until there is change, the number of mass shootings will continue to rise and the shooting this week will no longer hold the title as one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history.

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