Chaos in Florida: Is Gun Control the Solution?


Brian Sandler, Contributing Writer

It was a seemingly normal day two weeks ago in a suburban Florida high school. Students frolicked to and from class, gossip was swapped between cheerleaders and athletes discussed their plans for the next big game. In a matter of seconds, any semblance of normalcy was shattered when a former student gunned down 17 students and faculty. In that moment, mere students became spokes-figures for a long fought cause of gun control.

“To think, last week at this exact time, I was complaining about not wanting to go to rehearsal after school and trying to think of an excuse to get out of it…,” said Tanzil Phillip, a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas High School. “To [NRA Florida lobbyist] Marion Hammer and to everyone at the NRA and everyone affiliated at the NRA: We are not afraid of you, we will not be silenced by anything you have to say. We are here, our voices are loud, and we’re not stopping until change happens.”

Some students were more emphatic in the length in which the debate had been fought. Fellow Stoneman Douglas High senior Emma Gonzalez pulled no punches toward the issue.

“Instead of worrying about our AP Gov chapter 16 test, we have to be studying our notes to make sure that our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight,” said Gonalez.

“The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives. AP Gov had about three debates this year. Some discussions on the subject even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closets.”

Despite the outpour of support for tighter gun measures, several prominent political figures disagreed, particularly President Trump.

“If, by the way, the bad guy thinks that somebody is in this room with a weapon that’s going to be pointed at him with live bullets, he’s not even going into the school,” he said.

“It’s the one way you’re going to solve it. You’re not going to solve it with gun-free spaces.”

The debate on gun control has been extensive, dating as far back to 1999 when Columbine High School students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 15 of their fellow students and classmates, resulting in President Bill Clinton attempting to pass stricter gun laws.

In 2012, 20 year old Adam Lanza killed 28 students and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School before ending his own life. Proponents of gun control cite this, along with measures passed in Australia in response to several shootings, as to why there should be stricter gun laws in the United States. According to Clinton Leaf, this may be a sensible solution.

“Australian independence didn’t end. Tyranny didn’t come. Australians still hunted and explored and big-wave surfed to their hearts’ content,” he said.

“Their economy didn’t crash; Invaders never arrived. Violence, in many forms, went down across the country, not up. Somehow, lawmakers on either side of the gun debate managed to get along and legislate.”

Still, opinions remain divided on the issue. While the legislation in Australia has reduced fatalities greatly, skeptics remain unconvinced that this is a solution that will work in America.

As the debate grows more heated, an answer remains increasingly unclear.

Will gun legislation be passed, or will it come down to a matter of personal responsibility? To quote Bob Dylan, “the answer is blowin’ in the wind”.