A Valentine’s Day for Change

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A Valentine’s Day for Change

By: Summer Wadleigh

As February 14th approaches, most of us have a single significant holiday in mind: Valentine’s Day. Acting as a day for appreciation of lovers and friends alike, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the immense weight of grief this special day now carries. February 14th, known to all as Valentine’s Day; though this day simultaneously marks two years since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. An event that brought on paralyzing tragedy yet provoked such change and political activism resonates in the hearts of all effected. On this day of Ghirardelli chocolates and red roses, there is now a lingering remembrance through recent laws that protect students from gun violence. Let’s reflect on a few ways in which America has progressed, ensuring safety in education since two Valentine’s Day’s ago.

Memorial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Photo Credit: Satoshi Kina

There are a plethora of suggested bills that advocate for the establishment of stricter precautions in allowing people to purchase and carry arms. The first among these is the ‘Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act’, signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott only weeks after the shooting occurred. This bill would implement a 72 hour waiting period before a gun can be legally purchased, as well as an age raise of 3 years, moving the minimum ownership age to 21. Also allowing for the arming of some school faculty, this bill requires 132 hours of gun safety training for teachers, as well as a psychological exam that ensures the mental stability of any educator who plans on becoming armed. This bill could establish a second line of defense for future school shootings, to which less students would feel panicked in a state of emergency.

Another bill created in protecting students from future acts of violence is the ‘Campus Carry Bill’. This bill prevents the possession of weapons in schools, as well as other government buildings. Though there are some exceptions to this bill, as stated previously, in which carrying is permitted among educators through proper training and met qualifications. This also establishes gun regulations on college campuses as well, where concealed weapons license carriers can only bring said weapon on campus for a school administered purpose. Through providing limitations on who can bring arms into educational spaces, this bill creates a decrease in likelihood that a prohibited weapon will make its way onto a school campus.

Lastly, newfound legal consequences could be taken against a gun owner whose weapon is used in committing a crime by someone who is unsuited for arm access through law I-1639. Established in Washington, this law strengthens the monitoring of how weapons are used, and the repercussions on those whose weapons are used to injure and potentially take the lives of others. Favored by 60% of voters, there is no doubt that gun violence awareness has continued to touch the hearts of the American people.

Little Girl Holding a “Protect My Kids” Sign at the March For Our Lives Rally. Photo Credit: Fitz

In the midst of a tragedy that’s as close and personal to young people as this, there is hope among the sadness through political change. As the demand heightens for gun control, here are some things you can do to help prevent the ongoing devastation of school shootings and make this Valentine’s Day, a day of impact:

  • Show your support of gun control awareness through social media and influence people to become part of the conversation
  • Create your own online fundraiser in support of gun control through websites such as gofundme.com and mightycause.com
  • Get in contact with your U.S. Senators and Representatives through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and encourage them to take action in advocating for gun control

Sources:

  • http://vpc.org/5-things-you-can-do-now-to-help-stop-gun-violence/
  • https://news.wjct.org/post/how-have-floridas-gun-laws-changed-parkland
  • https://www.i1639.org/