School Shooting Florida

Magaly Newcomb, right comforts her daughter Haley Newcomb, 14, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at a makeshift memorial outside the school, in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder.

By now, you've probably heard or read about the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook. On Wednesday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This tragic event has once again brought up the controversial topic of gun violence across the nation as well as the conversation surrounding mental health.

Gun Control

Many Missourians believe it is time to end the idea that thoughts and prayers will stop these violent acts and look instead to legislation that will tighten the reins on gun ownership. 

After the Florida school shooting, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America made a five-step plan to create action. Their plan is as follows:

1. Commit to vote for gun safety: Take the pledge to vote on gun safety.

2. Follow the NRA money: Find out how much money your leaders have taken from the NRA. Call them and tell them this is a deciding factor for you on Election Day.

3. Register friends to vote: Get registered to vote and make sure your friends are, too.

4. Get candidates on record: Attend a Moms Demand Action meeting to learn more about the Gun Sense Candidate questionairre we will use to hold our leaders accountable on Election Day.

5. Run for office: Learn how to become a gun sense champion in your community.

On Tuesday, the Missouri chapter for Moms Demand Action will be meeting in Jefferson City for the organization's annual Advocacy Day. They will be going to The Capitol to talk to lawmakers about gun violence and gun laws.

"One of the bills that we are most concerned about is House Bill 1936," says Morgan Becky, the volunteer chapter leader. "We are opposed to this legislation."

House Bill 1936 would allow people to carry loaded, concealed guns in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, college campuses and on private properties, even if it's against the property owner's wishes.

Mental Illness 

One of President Trump's first tweets after the Florida school shooting pinned the problem on mental health.

According to reports, Cruz's mother had called the police multiple times throughout the years to report her son's violent outbursts. But Cruz was still able to pass the background check to obtain an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.

Megan Crabb, a sophomore journalism student at MU, wrote an article for The Odyssey stating that the problem isn't gun control, but the mental health crisis in our nation.

"Guns have been around forever," Crabb says. "They have always had a place in our society. The violence is recent and has much more to do with the changes in our society than it does the guns themselves."

Crabb says having a gun is a right, but also a huge responsibility. A responsibility that everybody should have access to within limits.

"You don't see mentally sound, law-abiding citizens doing things like this," Crabb says.

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