Listen to the children

Listen to the children


Next month, students of all ages are scheduled to take part in a protest march in Washington, D.C., calling for more restrictive gun control laws. This protest is prompted by the latest Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Fla., one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S history. Maybe these kids will be able to do what countless other adults have been unable to do thus far, which is to move our elected officials to pass federal legislation that might help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old opened fire on former classmates and school staff using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he was able to legally purchase. Many are wondering why someone with a history of mental health treatment, disruptive behavior in school – which resulted in him being expelled – and posting threatening comments on social media was able to procure the weapons that ended so many young lives. Clearly, something needs to change.

Local school districts are now on alert, going over their emergency plans once again. It’s a subject that is revisited every time a mass shooting happens – whether in a school or elsewhere. Mass shootings are described as any one incident where four or more people are shot.

These massacres have become almost commonplace in the United States. The most recent is one of three that have happened in the past five months: the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting on Nov. 5, 2017 took 26 lives and on Oct. 1, 2017, 58 people were shot dead while attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. Lest we not forget the other mass shootings that have taken place; in fact, there have been 1,624 of them in the past 1,870 days. It is madness.

When looking over the faces of those lost, it is hard to justify Second Amendment rights that allow for the sale of assault rifles. These arsenals of weapons have no business being in the hands of civilians. That alone should be a crime.

Fortunately in New York, the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, also known as the SAFE Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in January 2013, provides some level of protection. But then yielding to pro-gun activists, the governor allowed concessions in 2015 that weakened the law. 

No more concessions! We need stricter laws on the sale of all weapons, and laws that prohibit the sale of assault weapons. Period.

But we’ve been down this road before. And the demands for change have, for the most part, fallen on deaf ears. Hopefully, the pleas of children who take part in National School Walkout on March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24 will move our representatives to finally do the right thing.

They should listen to the children.