February 15th, 2018: Valentine’s Day 2018. To the 3,000 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, class was almost perfunctory. Students eagerly waited for the end of class, dreading the huge amount of homework and studying for tests. ‘Bang’! The first gunshot appeared as a routine fire drill and students began heading to their fire zones. That’s when students and teachers heard the others. ‘Bang’! ‘Bang’! ‘Bang’! Students began screaming, running for their lives and bodies began falling to the ground. “There were people running towards me and I realized this was not any drill. This was life or death” student David Hogg said. Numerous teachers threw themselves on top of students as shields. Dozens of videos began appearing on social media; families and parents gasped in horror after realizing what was happening: a mass school shooting. That day, 17 innocent people lost their lives, along with 17 more critically wounded. Only 11 weeks into the new year and “there have already been 17 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to 1.5 shootings a week” (Ahmed). Numerous school shootings has created a state of reality with the constant fear of this horrific event happening at any part of our lives to us or our loved ones. It’s safe to say that a mass shooting could happen anywhere, although we all hope that Oak Ridge High School is not a target. Parents send their children to school with the full belief that they are much safer at school than they are anywhere else. How many times can we let these terrorizing and traumatic events keep happenings? Is it a commonality that most school shootings and numerous other attacks happen with semi-automatic rifles, weapons used and known for wars? To find a stop to these school shootings, we must ask ourselves these questions: How are these mentally ill individuals acquiring weapons of mass destruction? Why are families allowed to have five guns in their houses? Lastly, who is allowing this to happen and not setting any strong restrictions and laws to create an end to shootings all over the United States? The National Rifle Association has been in the forefront of mass destruction in the United States and should be condemned because of their constant involvement in the support of unreasonable gun laws and its everlasting effects on our future generations of the United States of America, seen by the dozens of shootings every day.
Greatly disappointed by the lack of marksmanship in their troops, Union veterans of the Civil War, Colonel William C. Church and General George Wingate, formed the National Rifle Association as an effort to raise awareness and “promote… rifle shooting on a scientific basis” (NRA). In 1903, board members urged for the increase in shooting clubs among American youth in colleges, major universities, and military academies all over the United States, acting as a cornerstone and the promoting basis for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Today the ideology of the NRA is set within numerous programs for children: Boy Scouts, National Rodeo Association, and many more. The high rates of crime during the greatly known Prohibition Era led President Roosevelt to enact the 1934 National Firearms Act and the 1938 Gun Control Act with the help of the NRA (Coleman). These first gun control laws created heavy taxes, restrictions on firearms and the required registration with the federal government. With its strong support from the Second Amendment, the NRA is still seen as a top supporter for the use of guns, greatly defending America’s Second Amendment. During World War ll, the NRA was seen as a call for help as it loaned its numerous gun ranges, led in the creation of new ground-breaking firearms, and urged many to serve as plant and home guard members (NRA). The 1967 summer riots combined with the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 “prompted the Congress to reenact a version of the FDR-era gun control laws as the gun Control Act of 1968” (Coleman). This led to a higher minimum age, gun bans on the mentally ill and on felons, and numerous restrictions of gun shipping across the United States to dealers and collectors (Coleman). To all prevail, The NRA blocked this part of the legislation in the act that mandated a national registry and background checks. The NRA’s strong support of gun control can be outlined by the Black Panther, 40 years ago: “‘the gun is the only thing that will free us-gain us our liberation”’ (Coleman).
Moreover, in light of recents events, the multiple school shootings and the horrific Las Vegas concert shootings, the NRA’s still supports and constantly promotes the unconstitutional gun laws and its continuous inability to restrict the buying of weapons of mass destruction. Semi-automatic rifles or parts that allow a firearm to become fully automatic should never be in the hands of anybody even with a mandatory background check; these are weapons of mass destruction, war weapons that continue to threaten the lives of our loved ones every single second of our lives. Firearms are responsible for over 33,000 deaths in the United States annually (“Gun Control”). Today, Americans own around 270 million guns, more than enough to arm every adult in the United States (Willingham, Ahmed). From 1996 to 2012, 90 out of the 292 mass shootings have occurred in America itself and the NRA isn’t doing anything to stop these terrorizing events, ripping families apart (Lankford). It is very evident about the strong contradictions in the NRA’s said “promotion of gun safety” has there has been absolutely no effort to find a solution. Proposed solutions from the NRA, for example the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun; in reality, although, this can lead to cross-fire and an increased state of panic and fear. The Second Amendment, also doesn’t summate as an unlimited and unregulated use and purchase of guns and gun presence regularly leads to hundreds of violent conflicts, whether it’s a robbery or a police stand-off to a mass shooting; Because of the NRA, many on the “no-fly list” can purchase and sell any type of firearm because of the ineffective background checks.
All in all, in light of the horrifying Parkland, Florida school shooting and the increased outrage of thousands of families and individuals all over the United States of the NRA’s ineffective solutions to gun violence, many companies like Hertz, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and many more, have cut all ties with the NRA. Many statements summed up their disbanding of the NRA as a better replacement “by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace that they very much want to serve” (Wattles).Several companies have ended discounts for NRA members and firearm facilities have raised the minimum age for the use of firearms.Dick’s Sporting Goods has recently announced that they will end selling automatic-style rifles in their stores across the United States to raise support for gun control and the awareness for the need for change. Numerous individuals have also shared responses of possible attempts at boycotting companies who stand with the NRA. These multiple actions against the NRA demonstrates the outrage for no attempt at change to reduce gun violence in the United States. Gun violence has created a new sense, a new lifestyle in the things one does everyday; it has created the reality that school shootings are very likely to happen because of America’s support of unconstitutional promotion of firearms. Survivors from the Parkland school shooting have advocated for the need for change in a debate against the NRA. The #BoycottNRA hashtag symbolises the unification of the American people, all coming together to see an end to this continuous gun violence everyday. As a student living with the fear that such scary events can happen to me, can happen to my friends, my fellow students at Oak Ridge, and even you, I urge you to stand for the need for gun control and gun laws. The NRA should make an effort to limit their support of such unreasonable gun laws across the United States of America. Participate in the numerous gun control protests in front of the Sacramento capitol; email your state representative for more information and for the need for change. Join the movement towards the end of gun violence and the end of the loss of innocent lives.
Article by Shaina Shah & Video by Megan Nowag
Ahmed, Saeed. “There has been, on average, 1 school shooting every week this year.” CNN, Turner Broadcasting System, 20 Mar. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/03/02/us/school-shootings-2018-list-trnd/index.html. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.
“A Brief History of the NRA.” NRA- National Rifle Association, 2017 National Rifle Association of America, home.nra.org/about-the-nra/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.
Coleman, Arica L. “When the NRA Supported Gun Control.” Time, 2017 Time, 31 June 2016, time.com/4431356/nra-gun-control-history/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.
“Gun Control.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Detroit, Gale, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC3010999212/OVIC?u=eld16218&xid=93390c92. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.
Lankford, Adam. Countries with the Most Mass Shootings, 1966-2012. 2016. CNN, Turner Broadcasting System, www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/health/mass-shootings-in-america-in-charts-and-graphs-trnd/index.html. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018. Chart.
Wattles, Jackie. “More than a dozen businesses ran away from the NRA. How it went down.” CNN Money, 2018 Morningstar, 26 Feb. 2018, money.cnn.com/2018/02/25/news/companies/companies-abandoning-nra-list/index.html. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.
Willingham, AJ, and Saeed Ahmed. “Mass shootings in America are a serious problem — and these 9 charts show just why.” CNN, Turner Broadcasting System, 6 Nov. 2017, www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/health/mass-shootings-in-america-in-charts-and-graphs-trnd/index.html. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.