By Grace Aderibigbe
Last month, someone pointed a gun at a New Hyde Park Memorial student in the vicinity of the school around 4 p.m. Although this situation did not become violent, it has made some of us fervent, thinking about gun violence and the familiarity with which it greets us. It is truly a plague in the country, and one that sits untouched behind the Constitution. Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the reason why, in the face of all our activism, campaigning, and protesting, nothing seems to change. Maybe it’s the antiquity of the Constitution that scares politicians, causing them to quickly change the conversation whenever the issue is brought up. Whatever the reason, the truth is that gun violence in America today is getting worse, and as of now, we feel that we are headed towards disaster.
Coined by the author of the Constitution himself, the paper is and should be regarded as a “living and breathing document,” one that supposedly molds itself to fit the current political and social issues that arise in the nation while simultaneously holding true to its original values. This means that all of its 4,543 words are subject to change. But this is not how this document is treated, and more often than not we find that the Constitution is held as a “be all end all” standard, one whose literal statements frequently hold weight in serious issues. The importance placed on the Second Amendment is a case in point, and this is why we have the Supreme Court. Deemed the “final arbiter of the law,” the Court is given the responsibility of discretion in the Constitution’s viability and interpretation. So why hasn’t the Second Amendment, despite the many times it has been revisited, been changed?
“...while we cannot solve this problem overnight, we can facilitate healthy discussions between both sides to convey that Americans must unite in order to make this world a better place.”
It is not as if the issue of gun violence is not viewed as pressing enough; people understand the immediacy of this problem. There were 99 school shootings in the past three years, up from 70 shootings in the preceding seven years. Regarding the general American population, this year alone saw 11,038 deaths related to gun violence with the following breakdown: 4,758 homicides, 6,270 suicides, 8,502 total number of injuries, 74 children (aged 0-11) killed and 150 injured, 266 teens (aged 12-17) killed and 664 injured. To top it all off, Americans cannot come to a consensus on whether to push for more restrictive gun policies or heed the Second Amendment.
Many advocate for more restrictive gun policies under the belief that the fewer guns available to the public, the less gun violence there will be. And this notion might have some merit behind it, as when we take a look at countries like England where the general public has little to no access to guns, we can see how gun violence becomes virtually nonexistent. Which is why it’s no surprise that this sentiment is the most popular among Americans with 60% of the population finding it to be the best course of action.
Through The Chariot’s Instagram poll, students grades 7-12 were surveyed on their opinion, answering yes or no to the question, “Do you believe there should be more gun control/restrictions?” The results revealed 82% of students wanted more control. However, it’s different with America. Because the Bill of Rights guarantees the accessibility of firearms to all citizens, we cannot just ‘simply’ make guns more exclusive. This has reasons for their hesitance to restrict guns, since it may limit many from obtaining firearms altogether. This blatantly disregards the Second Amendment, which guarantees the majority access to guns.
Now, what does this mean for us? Well, as high-school students (specifically those of us under 18), there really is not much we can do. Forced to watch the horrific impact gun violence has on our schools, many of us can admit to frequently feeling hopeless. However, the one thing we can do is never let go of our voices. While at certain times our situation may seem irreversibly bleak, there is always hope in our voice, the same way there is hope in our community, togetherness, and dichotomy.
Source by Saanvi Mirchandani
The results of the poll revealed that 82% of NHP students agree that there should be more gun control.
The issue of gun violence is not as easy to approach as some may believe, but that does not translate into avoiding the conversation altogether. In fact, while we cannot solve this problem overnight, we can facilitate healthy discussions between both sides to convey that Americans must unite in order to make this world a better place.