Time to set aside politics and protect our children Print
Thursday, Mar. 01, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

They were looking for answers, not just platitudes, as a group of students and parents affected by school gun violence met with President Donald Trump on February 21.

Faced with the personal anguish wrought by the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead, President Trump pledged action, saying, “We don’t want others to go through the kind of pain you’ve been through.”

School shootings

But it doesn’t seem as if politicians at the state or federal level have done enough to stop the shootings. They talk about how sad they are, but then do nothing.

Since 2013, there have been nearly 290 school shootings in America — an average of about one a week.

Of shootings perpetrated by minors at primary and secondary schools and for which the source of the firearm was known, more than half of the kids obtained the gun at home — likely because an adult did not store it locked and unloaded. So gun safety education should be increased.

Twenty-four shootings — nearly one in six — occurred after a confrontation or verbal argument intensified, because of the presence of a gun rather than in spite of it, according to a report issued by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to improve understanding of the causes of gun violence and  means to reduce it.

Some considerations

Although gun control laws aren’t the only solution, they should be part of the discussion. Here are some suggestions being considered:

Raising the age for buying guns to age 21. Parkland student Samuel Zeif said he’s heard of 15-year-olds buying rifles. Cary Gruber, father of a Parkland student, implored President Trump, “It’s not left and right,” adding, “if you can’t buy a beer, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.”

Red Flag Laws. This is a policy increasingly adopted by states that empowers family members and law enforcement to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order restricting a person’s access to guns when they pose a danger to self and others. Five states have these laws in place.

Toughen online gun sales laws. Currently, federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks for all gun sales, but in most states, background checks are not required for person-to-person sales by an unlicensed seller.

There are other possible regulations to provide more control over gun possession and use. I’m not saying which ones are the best, but I believe we must set aside politics and come to some consensus on how to protect our children.

We’ve had too many school shootings in this country. Let’s join with the youth from Parkland and act to prevent shootings in the future.