The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Schools, Buses, Guns: Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Ron Desantis discussing gun laws in Iowa.
AP Newsroom
Ron Desantis discussing gun laws in Iowa.

At Perry High School in Iowa on Jan. 5, 17-year-old Dylan Butler shot at six students and staff, then killed himself.

That same week, Republican presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley participated in a GOP debate just 40 miles away from the school. But neither candidate bothered to utter a single word regarding the tragedy. 

 The world of mainstream politics that we live in has left us deliberately uninformed when it comes to real issues, especially concerning gun-related matters. 

I recently wrote a paper on the increase in school shootings within the past decade. In the paper, I identified three methods of prevention: increase gun safety laws, decrease stigma around seeking mental health help and reduce glorification in the media. 

Clearly, we can’t rely on our own presidential candidates to achieve these. 

Last Friday, former President Donald Trump was the first GOP candidate to speak out on the tragedy. 

“[It] seems terrible. So surprising to see it here,” Trump said during a rally at Sioux Center. “But we have to get over it. We have to move forward. We have to move forward.”

Our own former president says that we should “get over it.” 

I’m sure that this statement was extremely consoling to the six families who lost their children in the shooting. 

The lack of empathy exhibited by the Republican Party gives our country an unequivocal understanding of where our priorities lie.

While Democrats were quicker with their reactions to the shooting, politicians across the board seem to have forgotten what it’s like to have empathy. 

Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement on X stating the proposals the Democratic Party has been trying to pass but didn’t genuinely address the rise in gun violence.

“At the launch of our Safer States Initiative last month, I called on states to implement gun safety reforms…,” Harris said. She then continued to explain why policies aren’t passing in the Senate. 

Instead of addressing the issue earnestly, Democrats, including President Joe Biden, fired back against the Republicans. Once again, the conflicts between the two parties come in the way of what really matters — the lives of young students. 

One would think that gunned-down children have an immense impact on policy, but the reality is we still live in America. The likelihood of strong gun laws being implemented is about the same as a tweet-free day from Trump. 

In fact, after the National Rifle Association convention, Trump shared to X that the “easiest and quickest” solution to the increase in gun violence is to give teachers guns. As if the political equation doesn’t have enough in the mix, now we want to give our educators AR-15s. 

The GOP’s shift towards gun absolutism is evident in their increased propaganda for unrestricted gun rights and could potentially be the most harmful view the party has held in years. The deep-rooted polarization between the two parties impedes the collaboration that keeps our country from progressing. 

While many believe that gun owners would be most displeased with the new policy, Sen. Chris Murphy disagrees. 

“We tend to find that even gun owners are in support of restrictions like background checks,” he said. And according to Pew Research Center, 61% of gun-owning Americans say that obtaining a gun is “too easy.”

Despite the fact that Americans are split over whether gun ownership increases or decreases safety overall, there is no denying the absurd increase in mass shootings. After a 31% increase in the past four years, something has to be done.

It’s frustrating as a student to sit through drill after drill where we “prepare” for the worst. It’s frustrating that I could potentially have to sit in a classroom, underneath a desk, too scared to call for help, when an armed intruder enters a safe space. It’s frustrating to know that there’s a possibility that I could go to school one day and never come home. 

Most of all, it’s extremely frustrating to see the people we vote into power not change anything. The most recent national gun safety law was passed by Congress in 1994. As we approach its thirty-year anniversary, I can’t help but wonder if senators will stop bickering and start passing policy.