A 12-year-old girl, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, unintentionally fired a semi-automatic gun at Sal Castro Middle School on Thursday Feb. 1.
The shooting left four students hurt, one in critical condition and one staff member injured. The shooter was booked for negligent discharge of a firearm, as reported by CNN.
This case is a direct example of why the United States government cannot wait until tragedy strikes to create effective firearm legislation. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of gun safety in homes and keeping dangerous weapons away from children.
The shooting is believed to have been unintentional, as one student said, “Someone decided to bring a gun, I guess someone was accidentally playing around with it … They thought it was a fake gun,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The issue still stands, however, of how the young person was able to get hold of a semi-automatic weapon and bring it to school without being stopped.
This is the 14th shooting on a school campus in 2018, as of Thursday Feb. 1. Unfortunately, the Second Amendment is not going anywhere, but the need to protect students from such horrific events is greater than ever.
Instead of limiting access to guns, Republican State Senator Steve West filed a bill which would allow Kentucky schools to have patrolling armed marshals. This was done only hours after a school shooting at Benton, Ky., according BBC News. Talk for arming school staff members began shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
The idea that bad guys with guns can be stopped if there are good guys with guns is unfounded. This concept also strays from the problem at hand—guns should not be an issue in schools in general.
Students at Stanford Law School ran through statistical data and concluded that there is no basis for that theory, which has been used numerous times to defend the Second Amendment, as reported by Vice.
Nevertheless, pro-gun supporters and the National Rifle Association have made it nearly impossible to alter gun sales, so the least these members can do is ensure their guns are away from children.
A young person should not be able to access guns and put other students or individuals in danger. If a parent chooses to keep a gun at home, then it is their responsibility to make sure the gun is out of their children’s reach. This includes locking it in a safe location and making sure the child does not have access to the key.
Keeping guns away from children is essential to reduce school shootings as well as accidental fatalities. Over 1.69 million children are living in a household with “loaded and unlocked firearms,” according to Aftermath. In 2015, the Associated Press and USA Today documented that “141 deaths of minors were attributed to unintentional or accidental shootings in 2015.”
USA Today also reported that this number, however, could potentially be higher because it does not account for the number of minors accidentally killed by another minor, since those cases are reported as homicides. These deaths are preventable simply by limiting children’s access to guns.
In more shocking numbers reported by Aftermath, nearly “3,800 people died from unintentional shootings” between 2005 and 2010. The U.S. has between 89 to 100 guns per 100 people, essentially one gun per person, according to Quartz. Such a high number of guns dramatically increases the chances of an accidental shooting.
Once again, these deaths could have been prevented if people are more responsible with their guns.
Even after over a dozen school-related shootings in 2018 alone, no real discussions in politics have stuck. Consistently, people fear that “it is too soon to talk about” or “it just happened.” There will never be a right time to discuss such awful matters, but realistically the time to act is now.