We aren’t insignificant in the fight against gun violence

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We aren’t insignificant in the fight against gun violence

EGRHS students holding signs during the school walkout in March 2018.

EGRHS students holding signs during the school walkout in March 2018.

Halsey Smith, Emmeline Roney

EGRHS students holding signs during the school walkout in March 2018.

Halsey Smith, Emmeline Roney

Halsey Smith, Emmeline Roney

EGRHS students holding signs during the school walkout in March 2018.

Claire Driscol, Guest Writer

I’ve always had a strong passion for gun control.

But what sparked my desire to start a club is the fact that school shootings have become somewhat normalized.

Yes, we still feel sympathy when we hear of the brutality experienced by innocent individuals like ourselves, but after a day or two we move on. Not because we don’t care, but because we feel as if we don’t have a voice in this huge epidemic. We students underestimate the impact we can have on our community, specifically on issues in the political realm. We can do far more than offer our condolences; we can offer action.

The issue I’m currently trying to tackle is a petition for stricter background checks. A database maintained by the FBI, The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), is a crucial component in this fight for stricter regulations. According to Giffords Law Center, this system’s implementation in 1998 has stopped over three million felons, abusers, and mentally ill individuals from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.

There are still many loopholes in this system. Due to federal law, states are not required to send in information to this FBI database. Therefore it has only been proven partially effective as it can only provide records on individuals who have committed federal crimes; state level convictions and mental health history are up for voluntary submission. With this said, Michigan is one of the four states that does not report mental health information to the database.

Why does this matter?

After Virginia complied to NICS regulations in sending in mental health records, in the span of three years they have had a 47% increase in blocking firearm sales for those unfit for ownership.

It’s easy to feel insignificant in this fight against gun violence, but I want to emphasize the fact that this is our future. We can no longer wait for change. We can’t put it up to fate. If policy makers aren’t representing us, we have to take matters into our own hands.

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