GUNPROPLUS.COM – FEBRUARY 11, 2019 – By Jack Black
On Thursday February 14, the media focus will be not just on candy and flowers but guns as hype for the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida.
A year ago on that day of celebration for universal love a deranged student unhappy over being bullied by other students opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle and broke the hearts of parents, relatives, and friends of the 17 victims he killed and the 14 others he wounded.
What followed after the criminal tragedy was a massive student and public demonstration dubbed the March For Our Lives that catapulted a core of students into jump-starting a political gun control campaign that, a year later, has left the young emotionally wounded survivors wondering what it would take to clamp down on the string of school shootings that began with Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999.
Besides the initial reaction of sorrow, anger, and massive media publicity for all the students, little has been done in the way of new laws to resolve the problem of keeping students safe in school. Some schools, MSD HS included, have installed or are installing such measures as single-entry-point access to schools, bullet-proof glass doors and windows, electronic perimeter fencing and the hiring of armed school resource officers.
Politically, Florida quickly passed a law that raised the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21, the age needed to buy a handgun in Florida. Students wanted more. With the help of congressional representatives pushed by media criticism of political lack of action, tepid efforts for universal background checks, gun magazine restrictions, and so-called ‘red flag’ laws designed to alert authorities to potential mentally disturbed individuals with access to guns, all have been proposed. Only a few have been acted upon.
A Florida state commission recommended arming some teachers and other school staff despite opposition. A training program was created for those school officials and staff who volunteered to participate. A 439 page report chronicled just about every conceivable effort to learn what led up to the shooting, the law enforcement response, and the history of the student shooter. The Broward County Sheriff whose responsibility was to safeguard the school and its students was eventually fired. The March For Our Lives students raised awareness of school shootings across the country but even their considerable efforts have not produced much in the way of new gun controls. Congressional leaders – primarily House Democrats that regained control of the lower chamber last November – have yet to accomplish any of the students’ demands, although enhanced background checks appear to be the effort with the most promise of passage, if anything.
The follow-up to background checks will likely be more activity to pass the ‘red-flag’ bills that, since the Florida school shooting, have been taken up by various state legislatures. Supporters claim that such laws directed at those with mental issues could stop many shootings not just in schools but elsewhere.
The fact remains that prevention of school shootings is left up to individual school districts in any or all of the states and that means going through the long and slow progress of state legislatures.
Despite all the barriers to overcome lagging legislative action, the national media is expected to take it upon themselves this coming Thursday to use the opportunity to once again make guns and gun owners as unlovable as possible.