Handgun and ammo (photo: Wiki­media Commons)

A mass shooting dev­as­tated the heart of America, claiming the lives of 17 stu­dents in Parkland, Florida.

People filled with grief and despair reacted by demanding tighter gun laws.

Gun own­ership doesn’t explain the rise in mass shootings — the moral decay of our society does. The senseless tragedy moti­vated Florida stu­dents and politi­cians to mobilize for more gun control. Ignoring the true issue at hand and dis­tracted by the stu­dents’ deaths, many jumped to the con­clusion that stricter gun control will save the nation and protect us from future shootings. But banning assault rifles is not the answer.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that school shootings began to com­monly occur. Before the Columbine shooting, which left 15 stu­dents dead, the number of deaths from mass shootings was sig­nif­i­cantly lower.

While pro­gres­sives believe that easy access to guns has caused the uptick in mass shootings, that cannot be the case.  The Bill of Rights has guar­anteed the Second Amendment right to keep and bears arms since it passed in 1791. Guns were prevalent in the eigh­teenth and nine­teenth cen­turies, yet there were only three or four mass school shootings, all involving less than 10 deaths.

America has changed since then. The fact that we have des­ig­nated gun-free zones is cer­tainly worth noting. These zones openly invite shooters who seek to kill. Gun-free zones make it easier for shooters to commit atroc­ities because they know victims cannot defend them­selves.

In a time of such suf­fering, it’s simple to blame the weapon used. But banning guns and enacting restrictive gun laws will not make events like these less likely. When someone is killed in a drunk driving accident does the gov­ernment take away the car? No. The state charges the driver. Banning guns will only escalate gun vio­lence.

Crim­inals will always acquire a gun regardless of what the law permits. Chicago is a perfect example. It boasts some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, but people still get shot and killed there every day. Just last week, one of Chicago’s finest was killed at 2 p.m. in the busiest part of downtown Chicago. If that’s strict gun control, I object.

Another con­tributing factor to the increase in mass school shootings is the stark decline in human inter­action. Any school bus stop in America will show a much dif­ferent image than even ten years ago. Instead of kids laughing and talking with one another, they con­stantly stare, heads pointed downward, at their cell phones.

Pres­ident Donald Trump noticed the issue. While grieving with heart­broken parents and family members of Parkland victims, he said there is no “con­nect­edness” anymore.  

How is anyone able to feel they belong if no one reaches out to that person? Our society is dan­ger­ously iso­lated, and for a young adult that can be lethal. Where will someone lonely, with no friends, turn for comfort? People on the internet prey on indi­viduals who feel iso­lated.

The gov­ernment didn’t give the proper response, either. The FBI inves­ti­gated the former Parkland shooter that com­mitted the shooting but didn’t take any further action. He has a mental illness. Parents and stu­dents informed author­ities about his behavior. The police visited him 31 times, according to Fox News, yet they did nothing.

Before people accuse the National Rifle Asso­ci­ation of having blood on its hands, people need to think twice. The gov­ernment was incredibly inef­fective despite every sign and oppor­tunity needed to stop this slaughter.

Reports noted that as soon as the shooting began, the security guard ran over to the scene but then turned back. Such an act of cow­ardice from someone whose job is to serve and protect is another detail that somehow got over­looked. The gov­ernment failed mis­erably at every level that day.

If we blame guns for the shooting instead of the person respon­sible, then we must blame the gun for the lack of shooting from the security guard. If the media can blame the gun regarding the bad guy’s actions then it makes sense to blame failure of the good guy on the gun.

As our gov­ernment proves itself corrupt and inad­e­quate at almost every turn, we need to protect our indi­vidual freedoms more than ever. The slightest appearance of crim­i­nality at the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the State Department is star­tling enough without the gov­ernment infringing on our Second Amendment.

In 1938, Germany estab­lished gun control that pro­hibited all Jewish cit­izens from owning a gun. One year later, the gov­ernment began to gather 6 million Jews, killing them over a six-year period. The gov­ernment shouldn’t decide who can own guns.

If the U.S. gov­ernment takes away the right to keep and bear arms, we will have nothing to protect our­selves from an entity that grows more dis­hon­orable and unethical each day. The Founding Fathers expe­ri­enced a corrupt gov­ernment that chose to assert power over its cit­izens. That’s why they wisely chose to include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights — to secure that American cit­izens would always have the ability to protect them­selves from a tyran­nical gov­ernment.

Should the gov­ernment ever choose to take away our guns, law-abiding cit­izens would have to give their guns up while those who do not follow the law (people who commit mass school shootings fall under this cat­egory) would still have theirs. Pro­gres­sives speak of restricting firearm pur­chases; however, this makes it more dif­ficult for law-abiding cit­izens to pur­chase them.

Rhetoric in the left-wing media and the mis­placed call for action by out­raged stu­dents is just a con­fused response to a tragic event. Guns are not the problem, and, in many cases, they are the solution.

Allison Schuster is a freshman studying the liberal arts.