Less than a year ago, the mainstream political debate was centered whether people that are transgender are permitted to use the public restroom of the gender they identify with. Conservative politicians proposed the anti-transgender bathroom bill to restrict people that are transgender from using said bathrooms. These right winged politician’s justification for this discriminatory and transphobic legislation is public safety, specifically to protect children and women from potential violence and sexual assault. There is no factual background or basis for these claims, there have been no incidents of transgender assault in the 16 states that have passed a bill that allows preferred restroom access to people that are transgender.
Meanwhile, the controversial gun control argument runs rampant across the United States. As of March 20, 17 school shootings have taken place, an average of 1 shooting per week. Yet still America’s plagued schools have seen no policy change. Here lies the public safety paradox: despite that these conservative politicians claim they strive for public safety in their restrictions on transgender rights, they lack same drive for protection in gun control policy.
These politicians seem to care about public safety until it infringes on the “almighty American freedoms,” especially their Second Amendment right to bear arms. While students, teachers, and administrators are killed in school, a place that claims safety to be a priority, legislatures fail to protect them.
Shootings, a painstakingly obvious threat to public safety and children, seem to be cast aside, while the hypothetical and unsupported accusations of violent trans people in public restrooms actually merit legislative action.
People are dying in schools, yet majority of conservative politicians and supporters will not budge on control and restriction of guns, let alone automatic assault weapons. It is disturbing and completely rattling that these school shootings are dismissed as normal now. As more of these tragedies occur, the immediate, yet minimal, news coverage and protests on gun reform quickly diminishes, which undermines the importance of creating policy that fosters a safe learning environment. Congress’s detachment from gun control policy has left Americans have become so numb, and apathetic towards the fact that defenseless kids merely attending school are shot. It’s normalized and that is absolutely terrifying.
In Florida’s Parkland High School shooting 17 people were killed, 14 of which were teenagers; the absence of gun safety legislation ended their lives before they even began. They went to school on February 14, expecting it to be like any other day; expecting to go home at the end of the day and they never did or will. Negligence in policy allowed a simple trip to a Walmart or local gun show to obtain a firearm and rob these students of their lives. Despite that, stricter gun control prohibiting assault weapons would have spared the countless students who were casualties due to the the incessant argument that is personal “protection.” The flimsy excuse of guns for protection aren’t valid for public safety.
In a modern society, civilian do not need guns and they most definitely do not need assault weapons. Gun-owners desperately cling to the Second Amendment “right to bear arms” as their defense and justification for having guns. The entire amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment was written in 1789, making it a 229-year-old legislation. The American climate during this time was post-Revolutionary War, in which they had to fight a war with Great Britain with their colonial militias. However, over these 229 years, America has created a powerful, national army – we don’t need militias. As the Second Amendment is dated, so is carrying firearms for protection. The redcoats aren’t coming and they haven’t for centuries. Unless the world suddenly reverted to the 18th century climate – this amendment, and a virtually unlimited access to guns, is unnecessary.
We can not and will not be trapped in the cycle of inactivity like countless times before, and the students of Parkland High School are making sure of that. People claim to remember and keep the families in their “thoughts and prayers,” yet they’ve forgotten Columbine, they’ve forgotten Sandy Hook. As time goes on people forget the problems of school shootings until it happens again. And it will happen again. It always does, and it will continue to until we follow the rest of the world’s example and outlaw the very thing that poses a threat. These automatic and semiautomatic rifles and shotguns are the problem, and America is either too ignorant or too uninterested to realize that these weapons are the true threat to public safety. A child’s right to survive though a school day outweighs any right to own a gun.