The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Opinion: The U.S. needs to adopt foreign gun reforms

Emily Grover
Bouquets of flowers were placed around the Spartan Statue at Michigan State University following the Feb. 13 shooting.

Brian Fraser, Arielle Anderson, and Alexandria Verner. These are the names of the three Michigan State University (MSU) students who lost their lives Monday night after a mass shooting on their college campus.

On Monday, Feb. 13, MSU students were instructed to shelter in place and “run, fight, hide” after shots were fired at Berkey Hall on campus. The lockdown lasted almost five hours until the suspect, Antony McRae, was found dead off campus from a self-inflicted gunshot.

As a result of the shooting, three students died and five were injured, four of which are still in critical condition at a nearby hospital. As for the rest of the students on campus, they spent hours in their dorms, doors barricaded and lights off, listening to a police scanner, and looking at social media as their source of information. Students shared that they thought they were going to die. These students remain traumatized after the event, something that will likely sit with them for years to come.

Unfortunately, this type of event is not uncommon. On the 44th day of the year, the MSU shooting marked the 71st shooting of 2023 in the United States. 71 shootings in 44 days, and our leaders continue to sit still, refusing to make changes to our broken country.

Mass shootings have become a norm for the United States; a weekly event that gets some press has people mourning and crying, but is left in the dust when the next shooting occurs.

But we are the only country that deals with these gun tragedies. The U.K., Canada, and Australia don’t endure mass shootings weekly as we do. It’s not normal for such a horrific tragedy to be this frequent, yet we sit here acting as if it is normal.

On Mar. 13, 1996, a gunman went into a school in Dunblane, Scotland, killing 16 students and a teacher and injuring 15 others. To this date, this is the deadliest mass shooting the U.K. has experienced. After the tragedy, Parliament took action, banning private ownership of handguns and semiautomatic weapons and requiring registration for shotgun owners. 

It took one mass shooting for the U.K. to take action against gun violence. Yet when the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six staff members, our government stayed quiet. 

On Dec. 6, 1989, a man entered a classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada, and shot and killed 14 women before shooting himself. After this incident, the Canadian government immediately implemented gun reforms to prevent further events like this. Some reforms included a 28-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm, requirements for safety training courses, more thorough background checks, and restrictions on military guns.

But after a massacre in 2017 at a music festival in Las Vegas left 58 people dead, our government stayed quiet.

On Apr. 28, 1996, in Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, a man armed with a gun killed 35 men, women, and children. Two weeks later, the government made changes to gun laws. The National Firearms Agreement was put in place, banning assault rifles, implementing a temporary gun buyback program, requiring citizens to provide a “genuine need” for owning a gun, and taking a mandatory safety course. 

But after a shooter at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people and injured 17 others; our government still stayed quiet.

The U.K., Canada, and Australia aren’t the only countries that have implemented gun reforms after a mass shooting either. But we are the only country that hasn’t. Why do we continue to allow hundreds to be killed, injured, and traumatized when we can make changes?

In the case of the MSU shooting, McRae had known mental health issues. In England, firearm owners have a flag on their medical records, allowing doctors to take precautions if the patient is deemed mentally unfit to conceal a gun. Suppose someone experiences a change in their mental or neurological condition or begins abusing drugs or alcohol. In that case, doctors will be alerted and can contact the police to ensure that person does not own firearms.

If a law like the one in England were present in the United States, McRae wouldn’t have had a gun in the first place, and the MSU shooting could have been prevented. That was not the case, however.

To the rest of the world, it’s obvious. We must look to our neighbors worldwide and follow their example. They aren’t experiencing the same gun violence problems that we are, so clearly, we are doing something wrong.

Over 100 people have already died in 2023 from gun violence. Over 100 innocent lives have been taken, and we’re less than two months into the year. But because of the funding the National Rifle Association provides the government with, our leaders refuse to make a change. Government leaders are choosing to accept money to stay in power over protecting human lives. How much are these lives worth? How many more lives must be taken before these leaders choose life over money? Enough is enough.

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About the Contributor
Sienna Reinders
Sienna Reinders, Highlander Editor
Sienna Reinders, a senior at Carlmont, is a staff writer for Scot Scoop and an editor for The Highlander. She is a passionate journalist who has also taken her skills to UC Berkeley's Daily Cal newspaper, with internships in the summers of 2022 and 2023. When she is not writing, you can find her running with friends to train for her next cross country or track race. To view her portfolio, click here.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Opinion: The U.S. needs to adopt foreign gun reforms