February 14, 2021, marked the third anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members. Memorials and tributes were raised in Parkland,FL, in honor of those who passed from the tragic event.
The 2018 high school shooting was deemed one of the most deadly and horrific school shootings to date since the Sandy Hook Elementary school (located in Newtown,CT) mass shooting back in 2012. The perpetrator killed 20 students and six teachers.
Many survivors and affected families from both shootings still have PTSD and yet, are continuing their activism against gun control and violence till this day.
An interview from NBC news on Feb 2021, featured a student survivor, Sam Grady, sharing her thoughts and ordeals from the horrific event.
She expresses, “There’s still trauma there, everyday honestly I do have to say it’s really hard to wrap my mind around for years like it seems so long ago, but at the same time it seems like it was [just] yesterday.”
In the wake of the anniversary, President Joe Biden called for a renewal of gun reforms and bills to be enacted through Congress stating,“ This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer …
We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”
A Sandy Hook student survivor that goes by the name ‘Ashley’, stated her thoughts in an interview with Now This News on Biden’s efforts toward gun control. She expressed, “He understands what losing a child is like and he understands the amount of trauma and pain that comes behind losing a child … I think for him to be able to connect to that is so powerful because he can make a difference.”
Gun control and reforms began their journey on the coattails of the Sandy Hook shooting, however, was continuously rebuffed and blocked by Republican representatives due to the belief of unfair restrictions and limitations placed on gun purchases.
On March 11, 2021, Two bills passed through the House of Representatives, which consist of stricter vetting on gun purchases online and in-person and allow an extension of 7-10 more days for the FBI to complete comprehensive background checks. These bills concentrate on eliminating gaps in current gun laws, such as the Charleston loophole- which exposes the weakness of the 3 day background check on gun buyers to be unreliable and inaccurate. The loophole is termed after the deaths of the 9 people killed in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 due to the shooter being able to purchase a gun and dismissing the 3 day background check.
Gun reform has been called for action since the tragic events of the Columbine shooting in Apr 1999, but only now we are seeing legislation and action from our government.
Gun violence and deaths have not stopped but increased. There are still many questions unanswered as to why our nation is still on the path of gun ownership and weak regulations. Only time will tell, when the people of the United States will finally stand together in the fight against gun violence.