Despite the countless tragedies that have happened, U.S. gun control has not progressed. In response to the government’s inaction, protests led by high school students are springing up all around the country.
The catalyst was a shooting at a Florida high school that occurred in the middle of this month. A 19-year-old former student, who had been expelled for problematic behavior, trespassed on the school grounds, firing randomly with his rifle and causing the deaths of 17 people. The gun was purchased legally by the man one year ago.
This incident marks the highest number of victims for a high school shooting in recent years. In the U.S., school shootings happen one after the other. This one marks the 18th since the start of this year, making for a truly frightening frequency.
In order to keep these incidents from happening again, President Donald Trump stated he would “find a solution,” showing an intention to tackle the problem by making background checks on purchasers more thorough and creating more school safety measures. However, Trump appears halfhearted about more drastic gun reform. This is because he receives support from the National Rifle Association, which is opposed to gun control.
Trump’s proposal to keep schools safe is simply unbelievable. He wants to arm teachers with guns and give bonuses to armed teachers. It seems as if he’s acting as an advocate for the NRA.
Won’t following the expression “a gun for a gun” just increase the number of guns even more? The U.S. has a population of approximately 324 million people, and there are about 270 million guns in circulation. The number of gun crimes committed in the U.S. is projected to be much larger than in other countries, with approximately 30,000 people losing their lives each year. The biggest reason for these tragedies is that guns are so easy to obtain.
Until now, the discussion on gun control has hardly progressed at all, owing to the citizens who are deeply protective of gun ownership. The Second Amendment* to the U.S. Constitution recognizes the right to bear arms, which conservatives and the NRA draw on for their strong opposition to gun control. Last October in Las Vegas, 58 people died in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and while Trump stated he would consider restricting the sale of bump stocks, or special equipment that enhances a gun’s violent capabilities, even that countermeasure bore no fruit.
This time though, there’s hope to be found in the high school students who have begun to mobilize and demand gun control. They have appealed to others on social media, assembling all over the country to call for better regulation. In Florida, where the shooting happened, it’s reported that thousands of people participated in a sit-in in front of the state Capitol. There are also plans for protests all around the U.S. in March. The voices of the youth who call for gun control are growing stronger, and it’s possible they may soon have a chance to change the thoughts of the nation. During the midterm elections this November, gun control will most likely be a crucial issue.
For the Japanese, no one can forget the incident of Hattori Yoshihiro. In October 1992, the high school junior was studying abroad in the U.S. when, on his way to a Halloween party, he accidentally entered the wrong house and was shot dead by the man living there. This tragedy would not have happened were guns not involved.
There’s no telling when someone will become a victim of a shooting incident, whether they’re an exchange student or a traveler. This time, I want the U.S. to finally change the reality of their society.
*Editor’s note: The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”