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I Plead The…Second?

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In what can only be described as a horrible scene from a nightmare has become a weekly occurrence in the U.S. Since the beginning of 2018, there have been 30 mass shootings, as kept track of by the Gun Violence Archive, compared to 346 mass shootings in 2017. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a mass shooting can be classified as an incident where four or more people were indiscriminately killed in a public place.

The second amendment of the U.S. says “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.” But what does that really mean to “bear arms”? Back in 2016 it was decided by Caetano V. Massachusetts, “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” That opinion was given in the defense of Jaime Caetano, who was being tried for possessing a stun gun in self-defense, even though they were outlawed in the state at the time. She was later found innocent of a crime, consequently expanding the definition of bearing arms.

According to a report from the New York Times, since the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012, “more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 shootings.” The victims were children, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, people who were loved, who were taken before their time. I was a sophomore in at Rockville High School when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. I sat on the couch with my younger sister who was in the first grade at the time, watching small children being led away from their school into the parking lot, away from the dead bodies of the 26 other children who were killed in cold blood. I thought this is it, real gun laws are finally going to be passed to restrict access to guns for mentally ill people.

Following the San Bernardino massacre in 2015, which left 14 people dead and 22 others injured, Barack Obama passed an executive order to require the Social Security Administration to send all records of mentally disabled people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The NICS system is an FBI database created to determine if a person can purchase a firearm or not, and is a further expansion of the Brady Bill of 1993 which required government background checks on all individuals looking to purchase a firearm.

Sitting President Donald Trump overturned President Obama’s executive order in 2017, allowing 75,000 individuals previously denied access the newfound ability to purchase firearms again. Congressional Republicans who were in favor of removing the order stated that the rule could prevent people who had mental health issues but otherwise were competent to own a gun from doing so.

The false shooting alert sent out by Montgomery College on Wednesday, Feb. 7th was terrifying for students, many of whom were brought to the front of the classrooms away from the door, sitting surrounded by silence, darkness, and fear that their lives were going to end any moment. It was a false alarm and no students or faculty were injured, but it was a wake-up call for the facility that they needed to better prepare. College President Dr. DeRionne Pollard, who was in Annapolis at the time of the alert, after apologizing assured that a similar mistake wouldn’t happen again.

What if the shooting had been real? What if it had been like in Parkland, Florida, where 17 innocent individuals lost their lives? In a tearful interview with CNN, one student thanked her math teacher for saving her life, and she wanted to let his family know that he gave up his life to save the lives of his class.

This cycle of mass shootings the country has been riding on since the Columbine High School shooting of 1999 has left people tired. Tired of the heartbreak. Tired of the tears, the begs, the prayers. Tired of seeing sky views of elementary schools, high schools, concert arenas as people are leaving crying being led out by SWAT. Tired of being told it’s not the right time. It will never be the right time, but it still has to happen.

Being born in 1997 I’ve always known shootings, from Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, to living in Orlando during the Pulse Nightclub shooting. I’m just numb, no more tears, no more anger saying how could this have happened. It’s the daily life of living in the U.S., leaving in the morning and having that thought in the back of my mind, what if there is a shooting today. Or being in a crowded cafeteria and thinking, what would I do if there was a shooting right now? Until Congress steps forward and actually does something, it’s just the daily game of life in the U.S.

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I Plead The…Second?