Gun Control Issue Sparks More Debate
Maya Morales, 15, holds a sign during a walkout and demonstration for gun control at Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, on Friday Feb. 23, 2018. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Following the Feb. 14 Florida high school shooting, several schools have had threats and lockdowns, some businesses have issued some changes regarding guns and talk of gun control from both advocates and detractors has swept the nation.
According to the Educators School Safety Network, there have been 797 threats made since Feb. 15, an average of 72.5 threats made per school day. Some of these threats occurred in Oklahoma schools, resulting in lockdowns. However, none resulted in any deaths.
Parkland, Florida students began advocating for better gun control, moving some corporations to issue changes on gun sales in stores and some are even cutting ties with the National Rifle Association.
CEO of DICK’s Sporting Goods, Edward Stack announced Feb. 28 that, nationwide, stores will no longer sell assault-style rifles and would be increasing the minimum age for purchase of a firearm from 18 to 21.
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it,” Stack said in his media statement.
The DICK’s Sporting Goods Twitter posted several screenshots of Stack’s letter, and the full statement can be found on the corporation’s website under Media Statements.
We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones. https://t.co/J4OcB6XJnu pic.twitter.com/WmT50BO7mx
— DICK’S Sporting Goods (@DICKS) February 28, 2018
Stacks also announced that high-capacity magazines and other assault-style rifle accessories, such as bump stocks, will not be sold in stores.
In addition to DICK’s Sporting Goods, Walmart also announced that their stores would be raising the minimum age for purchase to 21 as well, joined by Kroger on March 1 and L.L. Bean on March 2.
Stores have received feedback on the announcements from both sides of the gun control debate.
Former Dick’s Sporting Good’s employees Griffin McCullar and Alex Degarmo, both 20-years-old, quit their jobs because of the new gun policy.
Several corporations took to social media to notify their customers that the companies’ partnership with the NRA has ended. Some of these companies include the First National Bank of Omaha, The Hertz Corp., Enterprise Holdings Inc., Best Western and Delta Air Lines, among others.
We have notified the NRA that we are ending the NRA’s rental car discount program with Hertz.
— Hertz (@Hertz) February 23, 2018
Some detractors of gun control are claiming second amendment violations with any kind of gun control.
On the other hand, advocates say that gun violence will continue without gun control.
“Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, they’re both taking a hard position on [gun control], and both sides have valid arguments,” said University of Central Oklahoma political science professor Joseph Tripodi.
There are more sides to the gun control debate than these two examples. However, Tripodi said that compromise from both sides is what it is going to take for legislation to be able to pass anything regarding this issue.
One example of compromise could mean universal background checks applied every time a gun changes ownership.
“Most folks who own guns aren’t against that, they are not against that concept at all,” Tripodi said.
Tripodi said there is no centralized FBI database that stores data about who owns a gun and what kind of gun they own, which adds to the complexity of this issue in U.S. politics, from the local to national level.
The Second Amendment does guarantee certain rights for Americans to own guns, which has been reinforced by the Supreme Court in multiple cases.
“Factually, states that have higher regulations on guns have lower gun related homicides,” Tripodi said.
Tripodi also said that the gun control issue is a complex issue with no single solution.
“Guns can be regulated, there’s nothing against that,” Tripodi said. “But you have the right to have a gun, so it comes down to public safety. It’s not about rights or absolutes.”