Staff Editorial 3/19 Parkland shooting calls for reinterpretation of Second Amendment
The second amendment grants citizens the right to bear arms; however, it is time to re-evaluate the statute of limitations surrounding these words.
On February 14, Nikolas Cruz entered his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and faculty. The event unsurprisingly sparked the debate of gun control and whether Congress needed to reform the regulations surrounding the topic. Many argue that guns are not the problem, rather the person carrying it. In that case, let’s forego discussion about AR-15s for a moment and take a look at Cruz’ past.
In 2002, at age 3, Cruz was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed. It is worth noting that a delay in development as a child does not equate to catastrophic impacts, so this alone is not enough to say Cruz should not have been allowed to purchase the murder weapon used during the Valentine’s day massacre; however, the red flags are far from over.
In August of 2012, Cruz was suspended for fighting at Westglades Middle School, that school year, the Washington Post reports Cruz had 26 disciplinary incidents added to his record, which boils down to about three infractions a month. On January 15 of the following year, Cruz’ mother called Brounty County police, reporting her son had thrown her against the wall after she took away his Xbox. In her report, she informed police that her son suffered from anger issues and ADHD. The next school year, Cruz then left Westglades and transferred to a school for students with emotional and behavioral problems, the school providing psychiatric services.
Before Cruz ever stepped foot into high school, he had been identified as an individual who suffered from mental illness and was in need of psychiatric support. This does not make Cruz any less of a citizen or individual; however, a person with his disciplinary and emotional history both in and out of school disqualifies him from owning a gun.
A gun is made to do harm. Regardless of how the owner chooses to use it, whether it be hunting, war, or for protecting their family, a gun is a gun, and it can have fatal repercussions if used improperly or irresponsibly.
On February 5, a report was made that Cruz had threatened to shoot up his school in an Instagram post that featured Cruz holding guns. This report was not followed properly, which is one of the many factors that allowed the Valentine’s day shooting to occur. He should not have been able to get the guns featured in his post in the first place.
Not everyone should own a gun. While the second amendment is just that, an amendment, it can be limited without infringing on law-abiding and responsible gun owners’ rights to own their gun. The first amendment is limited. Just because citizens have “free speech,” they can not shout threats or post them on social media. Just because we have “freedom of expression” does not mean we can show up to school half naked. These are limitations that are widely accepted because they are recognized to be for the good of the American public.
Not allowing people with violent and mental histories such as Nikolas Cruz’ would be for the good of the American public. Whenever a tragedy such as Parkland happens, we brush off the uncomfortable topic, attributing the event to mental illness and the shooter’s own personal issues, yet we never address those issues. The fact that Cruz legally acquired the gun that was then used to murder innocent men, women and children means something is broken.
The Constitution says we have the right to bear arms, but the Constitution also says we have free speech, yet we can not shout “fire” in a crowded room. The Constitution says citizens over the age of 18 can vote, yet convicted criminals do not enjoy this same right. For the sake of victims from Columbine, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Parkland and all other lives lost at the hands of gun violence, the law needs to say Nikolas Cruz and those alike can not be allowed the rights provided by the second amendment to their fullest extent.