The Wood Word

Our Opinion: Enough is enough

Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

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How many more innocent lives will be lost before “thoughts and prayers” turns into “laws and legislation?”

Since the most recent school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, there have been 18 incidents involving guns at or near schools in 2018. CNN reports that eight of those incidents classify as school shootings, according to their guidelines.

Eight school shootings in less than three months is far too many. There should not be a “most recent school shooting.” That should not be the norm. Now, America’s youth are trying to change that norm, because nobody with authority seems to have the ability or courage to do so.

Students across the nation are organizing protests in response to the gun laws that allowed this tragedy to happen. One protest will be on March 14, one month after the Florida shooting. Students and teachers will walk out of schools at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the 17 victims. On March 24, citizens will gather for the March For Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C. More will participate in another walkout on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

Despite how much money the NRA has spent in support of politicians, this should not be a political fight. When the safety of children is at hand, it should not be a partisan issue. This isn’t about the government taking your guns. This is about keeping America’s children, the future of our country, safe. No one should go to school and have to be taught what to do in case there’s a shooter. Teachers shouldn’t have to think about sacrificing their lives for students.

Congress needs to have a serious discussion about gun rights, without letting lobbies like the NRA influence their decisions. The Second Amendment was written more than 200 years ago. Times change, and our laws should, too. If a law designed to promote freedom puts members of our society in danger, it’s flawed, no matter its heritage.

There isn’t even a need to outright ban guns or take away those already in legal possession. Stricter background checks, registration and training would be just a few “common sense” gun laws that can be put in place to make America safer.

Americans are required to take a test, spend months with a learner’s permit and then take another test before being allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle. Every vehicle needs to be registered and insured to be street legal. This is what we call common sense, because automobiles can be dangerous. In 36 states,guns can be purchased with minimal to zero legal prerequisites, and don’t always need registration.

That’s not common sense; that’s just ignorant. Federal and statewide background checks, training and registration should be mandatory for every sale or exchange of a firearm.

Along with your thoughts and prayers, The Wood Word Editorial Board urges our readers to speak out against gun violence and do something to make a difference. Call, email and write your local members of Congress. For Scranton, that’s Matt Cartwright (202-225-5546). Pennsylvania’s senators are Bob Casey(202-224-6324) and Pat Toomey (202-224-4254). Their jobs are to represent all of us in Congress, and if enough of us tell them things should change, it may make that difference. Tell them we want change in gun laws for a safer America; tell them we don’t want our representatives taking money from the NRA to keep lax gun laws.

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