Every day, ninety-six Americans are killed by guns.
While not all of those incidents are mass shootings, it is clear that the lost lives have sparked a national conversation that goes much deeper than thoughts and prayers. On February 14th, 2018, a lone gunman opened fire on a high school in Parkland, Fl. Nikolas Cruz, an expelled student from the high school, was dropped off by an Uber with a legally purchased AR-15 style rifle. This attack resulted in the death of seventeen vulnerable students and teachers along with over fifteen still injured. With yet another mass shooting in the United States, Americans continue to ask: What can we do to stop this from happening again?
Many people living in New Orleans are unaware of the current gun laws in the state of Louisiana. Turning eighteen in Louisiana gives you the right to purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun without a permit. Not only are you able to purchase these weapons, but Louisiana recognizes open carry, which only requires a permit to carry handguns. Individuals with acts of violence recorded on their criminal record are permitted to carry weapons just ten years after completing their sentence (NRA). While some places like schools and restaurants prohibit firearms, Louisiana’s attitude towards gun ownership is notoriously casual.
In our country’s most brutal mass shootings, such as the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, the Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas, and most recently the Parkland High School shooting, there has been one thing in common. A semi-automatic rifle was legally purchased by all of the gunmen. The same rifles that can be purchased by just about anyone over the age of eighteen in Louisiana.
“We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon.” Emma Gonzales, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting, called for change at a gun control rally just days after the tragedy.
“Hearing that really puts things into perspective. It makes you realize how every little thing matters when it comes to the details leading up to a shooting.” said Jordan Tuchman, a sophomore at Tulane University, after being informed of this information. “I never knew anyone my age could just go out and buy a gun,” said Gabbi Meltzer, Tulane freshman. “After everything that’s happened in the world with mass shootings, that makes me feel a lot less reassured.”
Although it is important to uphold the Second Amendment, which gives people the right to keep and bear arms, it is crucial to recognize that this amendment was adopted in 1791. Guns in the 1790’s could only hold one round, while also having incredibly low accuracy when it came to the shot itself. The idea of automatic rifles was unimaginable when the Bill of Rights was created. Times change and it is absolutely vital that our rights change with them.
Looking to get involved in the fight for gun control but don’t know how? Moms Demand Action, a non-profit organization that demands action from local legislatures is planning to lobby in Baton Rouge on March 28th. Activists will plead with legislatures to help assist some real, positive change. There will be buses leaving from the Audubon Zoo at 8am. Everytown for Gun Safety is a national organization currently seeking donations and inspiring action to fight for change in the United States.
On March 14th, the Women’s March non-profit has organized a National School Walkout at 10:00am across every time zone to peacefully protest Congress’ inaction for 17 minutes. Seventeen minutes for seventeen people who lost their lives on what seemed to be an ordinary Wednesday. The Crescent will be teaming up with The Rival Tulane to organize Tulane’s National Walkout. Join us at 10am on March 14th to recognize the push for change that is needed to keep students safe at school. Find more details here
While the recent Florida shooting will fade from the headlines in weeks to come, a constant push for change is what we need to influence a difference in today’s society. By joining hands and working together, our generation has the power to influence not only the United States but the world for years to come.
COVER GRAPHIC: @sheringsnippets