(Photo Credit: Casey Martin/Achona Online)
February 14, 2020 marks the second year after 17 lives were lost at the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. The schools in the Broward area were released early for members of the community to hold events to remember the lives lost two years ago.
“I was only in 7th grade, but I remember being absolutely terrified by the news. Hearing what happened made me really sad and heartbroken. To this day I’m still a little shaken by the event,” said Amanda Chau (’23).
Communities in the Parkland and Coral Springs area held events to remember those killed in the shooting, including a moment of silence at 2:21 p.m. when the shooting began two years ago.
Someone placed dozens of #MSDStrong rocks, painted in the school’s colors, on the roadside guard rail posts near MSD High. Full coverage of the day’s events and reflections on @nbc6. #ParklandAnniversary pic.twitter.com/Oe5MZF7yYI
— Ari Odzer (@ariodzernbc6) February 14, 2020
Following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, much conversation about school shootings and gun laws entered the political atmosphere. Several pieces of legislation have been implemented since the shooting two years ago.
Firstly, three weeks after the shooting, former governor Rick Scott signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act into law.
WATCH: Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which raises the age to buy firearms to 21 and imposes a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 9, 2018
Components of the bill included more heightened security through more law enforcement at school and increased surveillance. The bill also included improved mental health access for youth through implementation of mental health programs for students and families.
TODAY: @FLSenate expected to vote on the 'Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act' (SB 7026). Raises age to purchase gun from 18 to 21, bans bump stocks, gives funding for armed school resource officers & for mental health services. Has provision to arm teachers.
— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) March 5, 2018
Secondly, the federal government issued a nationwide ban on bump stocks, a firearm accessory that allows a semi-automatic gun to shoot as fast as an illegal machine gun. The ban was put into effect on March 26, 2019 and required owners to destroy or hand in any bump stocks they have.
According to Fast Company, a total of 11 states have passed laws in 2018 to restrict gun access to people connected to domestic violence. Also, eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have incorporated ways to “temporarily keep guns from dangerous or ‘at risk’ people.”
After the shooting, companies like Walmart also took initiative to reduce mass shootings in public places. In late 2019, Walmart announced that it would stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles. They also discourage customers from openly carrying guns in its stores after the mass shooting in El Paso in August 2019.
“I think that more companies and public places should take this initiative and obviously its not a solution but I feel like this is definitely a start to reducing gun violence. Like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” said Tress Jacobs (’20).
Campaigns such as March for Our Lives were created after the shooting to raise awareness and call for action against gun violence. Students, teachers, and families across the nation marched hoping to increase gun control and remember the victims.
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When the adults are acting like children, the children start acting like adults…. Today, we occupied the @senatemajldr office to demand action on gun violence prevention. His childish behavior is killing us — almost 40,000 Americans have died from gun violence since the House passed universal background checks. We gave the Senate a coloring book with locations that shootings have occurred in. We gave them a blank page and crayons to color in the places that will be affected by gun violence due to their inaction.
Similarly, organizations such as the Sandy Hook Promise has increased their efforts to protect students from gun violence and encouraging safer home and school communities. In late 2019, The Sandy Hook Promise released a PSA to raise awareness on prevention of school shootings called “Back-to-School Essentials”.
Although several organizations and individuals have made efforts for gun control, many feel as though there is still much work to do. Bob Gualtieri, the chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, says schools were not prepared enough for situations like the Parkland shooting. Gualtieri also mentioned the idea that schools and legislators must extend the safety measures in place in order to prevent and handle school shootings.
“I think there’s so much work to be done with raising awareness and discussing the prevalence of gun violence in America because it affects a lot of minorities and innocent people. It’s been proven effective to instate gun regulations in other countries and I don’t understand why it’s taken us so long when there were more mass shootings than days last year,” said Claire Rogan (’20).
After two years, we still remember the lives lost at the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting:
Martin Duque Anguiano