ELEANNA DAVOS ’20
How do you fix an issue that no one seems to be on the same page about? What is the real issue following yet another painful school shooting that took the lives of 17 innocent people? What is the problem: firearms, the Second Amendment, gun owners, Republicans? Humans inherently need to place blame on something or someone. So who do we blame for these shootings that never seem to end? I can tell you that it is not republicans, the Second Amendment, or as a matter of fact the firearms responsible for these events. Now, before you choose to disown me or this article, bear with me, and with an open mind listen to what I have to say.
A little background information that should be brought to light before people stand on park benches and yell for the repeal of the Second Amendment, the national removal of guns, and hatred of republicans. Did you know that a woman close to Nikolas Cruz had on multiple occasions called the FBI tip line stating that Nikolas had a myriad of knives and guns. She shared that on multiple occasions she had witnessed him hold a firearm and BB gun to his brother’s head, and had shared on social media that “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” Over the last several years Broward County had received around 20 calls for police assistance regarding Cruz and his younger brother. Clearly there is some sort of disconnect happening considering that there were so many red flags with this young man and he was still legally able to obtain a firearm in Florida.
Now what is “broken” here? Technically the system that gave him a gun is not; he had no criminal or mental history, was a legal resident of Florida, had a clean background check, and was of appropriate age to purpose a long arm. Which technically means he checked every box in his favor to be able to legally acquire a firearm. Now if the issue is not in the firearm acquisition process, because there was no fault that occurred there, where then is this troubled link?
The issue lies in the fact that firearm laws and regulations vary from state-to-state, there is no consistency in who is able to acquire firearms or how they do it. When anyone goes to apply for either a license, permit, or a firearm, they are run through the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System), which is essentially part of the FBI’s database. The issue with the NICS is when someone sends a tip, a concern, or someone is deemed “risky” or “dangerous” by the Secret Service, FBI, ATF, etc. those “red flags” are not attached to that person’s name. We can attribute this to our friends at the ACLU, who once again got their noses involved in something they should have never gotten involved in. The ACLU made it possible that Americans never get red flagged, because in their naïve eyes just because you “may” be dangerous does not mean you are physical threat to society, and by assuming their danger we are going against their basic human right.
Now if Americans were allowed to be red flagged in all government databases, then when they go to purchase a firearm, apply for permit, or license those red flags will appear in their NICS search. Ultimately inhibiting them from purchasing a firearm, permit, or license.
Let’s make this simpler to understand, remember when the drinking age used to be 18 and each state was able to regulate their own drinking age? The federal government began to dislike the idea of people under 21 drinking because there were many issues and inconsistencies among the states. They intervened and pressed the iron on all the sates telling them that if they didn’t change their drinking age to 21, they would withhold their funding to those states. So what did the states do, they all made their drinking ages 21 in accordance with the federal government.
The way to create firearm reform is not to get rid of firearms, the Second Amendment, or to blame legal gun owners. The first step for bipartisan reform is to get rid of the state firearm laws and create a blanket of consistency for every state. Meaning that firearms become regulated on a federal level. In conjunction, by allowing people to be red flagged in the NICS will help make sure that people who pose a potential future threat would not have access to firearms.
I will leave you with one final thought, where was all this anger and frustration about gun control when a baseball field full of Republican congressmen were shot? Passion like this should be felt for everyone despite which party you belong to, and unfortunately this passion for change is far from unilateral for all members and parties. It’s far easier for people to blame us and blame republicans for their beliefs (one of which includes the Second Amendment).