School shootings are no longer a problem but an epidemic. The United States of America has been averaging one a week thus far in 2018, and over the past decade the number of mass shootings is nearly equal to of every country in the world combined.
The topic of gun control has created a divide among citizens in the U.S. for years now, but in light of the recent mass shootings, the divide is more apparent than ever.
On one side, some individuals are activists for stricter gun laws, and advocates for the notion that less gun access means less violence.
And on the other side, some individuals want their Second Amendment right to bear arms protected and feel armed personnel in schools not only makes sense, but it is common sense.
Opposing views on gun control reform, specifically regulation for assault weapons, has sparked political debates, social movements, and rallies across the nation. Students are standing and walking out. Adults are arguing with them at rallies and social media platforms.
Since these battles continue to be waged, the United States had 346 mass shootings in 2017, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and as of press time, has seen 49 incidents in 2018.
A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. left 17 dead and over a dozen injured on Feb. 14.
The gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is a former Stoneman Douglas High School student who was expelled for disciplinary reasons, according to statements from local authorities.
Cruz allegedly pulled the fire alarm, causing the students to empty out into the hallways where he proceeded to open fire.
He was armed with an AR-15 assault style rifle, which he obtained legally over a year ago. Under federal law, individuals 18 years of age or older are allowed to purchase long guns. And while Cruz had no prior criminal record, he passed the FBI’s background check.
A Broward County grand jury indicted Cruz on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, according to a letter of intent provided from the state of Fla.
Parkland Survivors and their allies have been turning their grief into activism over the past month or so since the school shooting.
On March 14, exactly a month after the shooting, there was a nationwide walk-out at 10 a.m. that schools and campuses across the country participated in. With the help of the Women’s March youth branch, EMPOWER, this 17-minute long walk out was orchestrated to honor those that lost their lives and to protest gun violence, according to the organization.
And on March 24, children and adults took to the streets for March For Our Lives, in an attempt to put pressure on Congress to pass gun reform and make schools safer. There were marches in many cities around the world, including major cities like D.C., NYC, Miami and L.A.
A full list of participating cities can be found on their website.