Opinion

Disarmed?

 

This piece was written by different authors, the first author, Holden Lush wrote a journalistic piece about the NRA being labeled a terrorist group. The second author, Angela Tsai, wrote an opinionated piece about gun control.

By Holden Lush

You probably have heard on the news that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been labeled as a domestic terrorist group by the city of San Francisco’s elected board of directors. The board of directors for S.F. stated, “(the NRA) musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to incite gun owners to acts of violence”, “(the NRA) spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence” and ,“We urge other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same.” While few people agree with the claim stated by the board of directors, many people such as the founding partner of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors William A. Brewer III and the elected city attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera disagree with this “frivolous” claim and believe that the board of directors should withdraw their claim and apologize. These claims was mostly started by the Garlic Festival shooting that took place just south of San Francisco, and the board of directors believing that “(the NRA) uses its influence to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence.” 

 

The NRA says that these claims are not true partly due to an event that occurred in 2017, when an active NRA member named Stephen Willeford stopped an ongoing mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. When he discovered that an active shooting was going on at the nearby church, the former NRA gun range instructor got one of his his AR-15 out of his gun safe and took cover behind a truck waiting for the right moment. Then after getting a good shot, he shot the shooter twice, once in the leg and once in the upper left torso. After being shot twice the shooter decided to take his truck and ran from the church. Stephen Willeford then saw a car parked nearby and told the owner Johnnie Langendorff that that truck that has just sped off was being driven by “A man who just shot up the Baptist Church.” Both then gave chase to the shooters car and Willeford provided a detailed description of the car to police. While giving the description of the car, the car hit a light post going about at a fast speed resulting in the car being flipped over and pinning the shooter in the car. Stephen Willeford most certainly stopped more lives from being lost or more people getting injured by scaring off the shooter, and giving chase to his car. Many people will not likely know about this due to it taking place in 2017 and it taking place in Texas (about 1.5k miles away). A student that wishes to be anonymous told me told me this when told about the events “I had no idea who that was, or that event even happened.”

 

The NRA is mostly silent after most mass shootings or a cases of police brutality, stating they don’t want to talk about gun related topics while America mourns the losses of all the people killed/injured or offend the friends/family of the people killed. One active NRA member  who requested anonymity told me, “While yes we (The NRA) are inactive on many of our social media accounts for a while after a majority of school and mass shootings, it is due to us wanting to respect those who have had their lives taken from them or whom have been directly affected by that terror attack. One of the most important reason according to the nra is to not have it seem like we are using a tragedy to influence our political views onto those who are grieving the death or injury of a loved one.” After showing this quote to the anonymous student, they responded with “They (NRA) need to at least have some respect towards the family of the people who were killed, by at least saying something or starting some sort of possible fundraiser to help with medical or funeral bills.”

 

In response to S.F. labeling the NRA a “terror group”, the NRA decided to sue the city for slander and infringement of the first amendment. San Francisco then retracted their claim, even before the case went to court, after they unsuccessfully tried to nullify the lawsuit by saying that their claim “did not restrict the NRA’s free speech.”  With all this controversy against the NRA you may think that people joining the NRA is at an all time low, but in reality, they currently have one of the highest ever membership in the history of the NRA, according to The Washington Examiner. 

by Angela Tsai

When you think of high school, what first comes to your mind? Do you picture Friday night football games with your friends? Homecoming spirit week? Or do you think about the early morning commute and the countless hours spent in classrooms analyzing the work of Shakespeare? Regardless of which aspect of school you pictured, a school should be a safe place for both social and academic growth. This idea, however, has been challenged, with schools obtaining a more negative connotation. It all started on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. There, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, armed with a semiautomatic rifle, shot and killed 26 people, including young students, teachers, and himself. This tragic mass-shooting sent Americans into a fierce debate concerning gun safety legislation, a debate that is still prominent in today’s news as there is an average of one mass shooting per day (GunViolenceArchive.org). Considering the amount of violence and brutality involving guns, America needs safer and more careful gun regulation.  

 

With America having more guns than people, this country is an extreme outlier in terms of homicides involving guns, with 29.7 deaths per 1 million people. Foreign countries fall far behind from this rate: Switzerland at 7.7, Belgium at 6.8, and Canada at 5.1 (Rogers). Moreover, these countries also have more a more complex process to obtain a firearm. For example, after a 1989 mass-shooting in Montreal, the Canadian government implemented a mandatory 28-day waiting period after applying for a firearm. They also required firearm safety courses to be taken and further restricted the ability to obtain a military-style firearm, such as semiautomatic rifles, making these harder to get than a simple shotgun. On the other hand, the American government recently withdrew restrictions on military-style weapons, a ban that was implemented from 1994 to 2004 (Masters). Without tight regulation to obtain a firearm, the United States has dramatically surpassed the world’s average of firearm homicides. 

 

To find a reason for this, economist Richard Florida investigated gun deaths in each US state. He compared social characteristics and their connection to gun violence. He found that qualities such as high immigrant rates, drug addiction, and high-stress levels did not correlate with gun violence. He only found one strong connection: States with tighter firearm regulation had fewer gun-related deaths. It’s simple cause and effect: if the government implements stricter licenses and protocol to obtain a gun, then the area will experience fewer deaths related to firearms. 

 

Many people believe it is their Constitutional right to obtain a gun, just as it is their Constitutional right to express themselves and their opinions. The 2nd Amendment, or the Right to Bear Arms, was passed in December of 1791 after America won its independence from Britain. The Amendment protected people’s freedom, by allowing townspeople to form their own militia against another possible tyrannical government. Today, the government is not threatening our country’s freedom, so there is no need to obtain a gun for this reason. Terra Linda senior, Jason, explained how the ideal solution consists of a balance: “You need to realize the intentions of our founding fathers and wanting people to feel safe, while also recognizing that this new crazy technology results in public spaces now being vulnerable to violence”. Additionally, while many Americans use guns for hunting and sport, I do not believe one needs an AK47, a military-style semi-automatic rifle, to do so. If these leisures can be accomplished with simple shotguns, why are Americans still able to obtain more advanced and dangerous firearms? 

 

The 2nd Amendment was passed over two centuries ago, and a lot has changed since then. We have gone through drastic social change so quickly that even certain laws from a few decades ago would be viewed as inhumane today. Imagine if we still implemented Jim Crow laws or still locked up members of the LGBTQ+ community in mental hospitals because we thought they were insane. To argue that we as Americans have the same beliefs as we did at the beginning of our country is absurd. Time has passed and society has changed. Laws need to change with it. 

 

My generation alone has witnessed 6 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in American history. I am 16 years old. We need change or else, as Jason puts it, “school shootings will become the status quo”. It is everyone’s right and responsibility as American people to demand the government to take action. Writing a letter to local officials or starting a student group are simple, yet effective, things everyone can do. By gathering community support and showing the White House that we will not settle for the current gun regulation, together we can take larger, more powerful steps toward protecting the future of our country. 

1 COMMENTS

  1. The NRA’s lobbying and constant harassment for any real progress costs lives, so it is that they should be charged with second degree murder for each one of the people they have let die so they can enjoy shooting a bigger gun. Guns aren’t toys and a gun that empties its ammunition in seconds is not the musket of 1791. People can hunt all they want but I don’t think they need a bazooka to do it nor an automatic military grade weapon.

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