Opinion: What Las Vegas Teaches Us, by: Chase White ’18

What do the events of Las Vegas have to do with St. Edward High School, you may ask. In the opinion of one Edsman, those who make the claim that because this event happened in Nevada, a state 2,000 miles away, it has no impact upon us, are completely and utterly wrong. Las Vegas, yes, is certainly about a more widespread crises of our public citizens’ mental instabilities, however, the way in which the shooter was able to conduct himself should not be allowed. Yes, that’s correct, I am talking about gun control, just not the overreacting opinion many held in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Our country already has some of the most basic and reasonable gun laws in the world. Having jurisdiction from “coast to coast,” the Federal Government has already stipulated the following through legislation:

Federal Firearms Act of 1938 requires that gun manufacturers, importers, and persons in the business of selling firearms have a Federal Firearms License.

Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 prohibited interstate trade in handguns, increased the minimum age to 21 for buying handguns.

Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 prohibited the sale to civilians of automatic firearms manufactured after the date of the law’s passage, meaning only automatic weapons manufactured and registered with the federal government before 1986 can be bought, owned, and sold, it also requires ATF approval for transfers of automatic firearms.

Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 prohibits unauthorized individuals from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 requires background checks on most firearm purchasers, depending on seller and venue.

McDonald v. Chicago was recently resolved  by the Supreme Court of the United States that found that the right of an person to “keep and bear arms” as protected under the 2nd Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment against the states.

So in truth, U.S. federal law already bans any continuous-firing assault weapon, in addition to any weapon within a school, with the exception of law enforcement officers. In addition, U.S. federal law requires manufacturers to have a license, conduct background checks in most locations, and for buyers of weapons to be at least 21 years old. This is where the government has already outdone itself and prevented most of the school shootings and mass-public shootings that we have had, except they didn’t.

The Columbine school shooter was 17 years old, and therefore shouldn’t have been able to purchase a gun, and he used a semi-automatic rifle, which was banned during an outdated semi-automatic assault weapons ban at the time, yet he found away around the law, The Sandy Hook school shooter was 20 years old, and therefore shouldn’t have been able to purchase a gun, yet he found a way around the law. Lastly, the Las Vegas shooter had a modified-to-be fully-automatic weapon, an after-market modification there would be no way of regulating, so the shooter found a way around the law which banned his actions.

You see, the debate shouldn’t be about “gun-control,” it needs to be about about gun safety and education. Here at St. Edward High School, we used to have a club known as The Sportsman Club, however, the club has been recently up for review, and for in the future students are not going to be permitted to actually put firearm principles into action. According to anonymous sources: “The Club was founded on the guiding principle of firearm safety.” “How can we function without putting these principles into action?” Another stated: “I understand the administration, but it’s still not right that they would go against this club which was already established and approved.” The club was for purposes of proper training and skill, and as a way to prevent future school shootings by treating the weapons, not as toys, but as a means of force which has the potential to inflict damage. The club was meant to answer, in the most effective means possible, the question of how guns should be used. Since no matter what laws the government passes there will always be illegal weapons of some-kind obtained around the law, we should have trained law enforcement and citizens who can actively subdue any target to protect one-another from the deadliest of actions.

In Las Vegas, it took all of 6 minutes, and the entirety of the shooting was done within that timeframe.  The shooting should not be blamed on lenient laws, the NRA, or the police, but rather only on the shooter who obtained at least one, illegally modified, fully-automatic rifle, and made the decision to shoot at his fellow American citizens.