Viewpoint: Gun violence raising fear among American students

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

As 2018 is nearing its end, there is one memory from this year that I will never forget.  

I think back to Feb. 1. When a student threatening to shoot up my high school, causing it to be shut down for the day. That was the first day I had felt scared to go to school. My fear only worsened, when 14 days later, 17 were killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.  

It makes me wonder if my school had stayed open, would I be here today? Would I have been able to go to my first prom? Earn my high school diploma? Turn 18? Move away from home and start my first year of college? Watch all the people I love get another year older? 

Every day I am so lucky to be alive. I am so lucky that gun violence hasn’t ripped away my future or the future of my loved ones. Yet, unfortunately, others are not so lucky. Every day, 96 Americans are killed by gun violence, according to Everytown. Thousands more are affected by gun violence whether it is by witnessing it, knowing someone who was shot or waiting in fear of the next shooting. 

What can be done to prevent gun violence? At times I often feel helpless, like nothing is being done to prevent gun violence, and that stricter gun control laws will never pass because people just can’t agree on something. Over 90 percent of Americans agree on universal background checks for all gun sales, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University. Surveys show broad support spans gun owners and non-gun owners alike, Democrats and Republicans, and even among members of the National Rifle Association, whose members are leading efforts to spike the measure from pending legislation. 

Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes, recently donated $5 million to several organizations across the country committed to ending gun violence. He supports everyone getting involved, by encouraging people to send a postcard that enforces the need for universal background checks to their local representatives. 

Even if some people in office won’t take action, there are some things that we can do to enforce stricter gun control. 

There are simple things that any person can do to help the movement against gun violence. Some of them being advocating for sensible gun laws, establishing a culture of gun safety in your own life, attending a march or protest and voting people into office that can make a change. 

We need to reduce the number of guns to reduce the rate of gun violence and mass shootings. People should not be afraid to go to the movies. College students should not be afraid to go to clubs. Children should not be afraid to go to school and parents shouldn’t be afraid to send them there. It’s unfortunate that many politicians do not have the safety of Americans as their first priority, so it’s up to us to enforce what needs to be done to end gun violence.