State of Grace: ‘#NeverAgain’ will not keep us safe

Grace Krumplitsch, Editor-in-Chief

When hundreds of rioters stormed our nation’s Capitol Building on Jan. 6 in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, many liberal and conservative lawmakers alike feared for their lives as they sought out shelter amidst the violence. 

While I watched these terrifying events unfold on my living room television screen, I could not help but think to myself, “Will this atrocity finally be the tipping point that teaches lawmakers to sympathize with victims of violence and change their minds to pass more strict gun control laws?” 

Three years have passed since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day that killed three faculty members and 14 students, and not a lot of gun control legislation has been passed since to prevent future mass shootings. 

The majority of Americans believe that there should be stricter gun laws. Fifty-two percent reported they felt the need for more gun control in 2017, and this figure has increased to 60% since the Parkland shooting, according to Pew Research. 

Thorough background checks and safety training for each gun owner and policies that prevent the average civilian’s possession of military-grade assault rifles should be the absolute minimum level of gun control in all 50 states. 

Sen. Diane Feinstein initiated the Federal Assault Weapons ban following the 101 California Street mass shooting in San Francisco in 1993, however, that legislation was temporary and no comparable federal gun control measures have been passed since then. 

As I scroll through “In memoriam” Instagram posts that commemorate the lives lost in mass shootings such as what happened in Parkland or at Sandy Hook Elementary, School where 28 were killed in Newton, Connecticut, the hashtag “#NeverAgain” is almost always looming at the bottom of a caption.

Saying “Never Again” is not good enough. A hashtag will not prevent another school shooting, but calling on our lawmakers to take action and pass legislation to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands will. 

Although posting on social media is a safe and convenient way to speak one’s mind due to the pandemic’s social limitations, it is not the most effective way to enact change. 

Instead of sharing posts with friends and family who very well might hold similar viewpoints about gun control, researching specific policies, calling legislators’ offices and emailing local congresspeople demanding change are ways we can take steps towards creating a safer America. 

The number of those in favor of stricter gun control will likely continue to increase as the majority of of-age voters from Generation Z tend to support politicians that take firm stances in opposition of limited gun control policies, according to Pew Research. 

Teenagers and young adults are not just becoming increasingly more participatory in politics — we are change makers fighting at the frontlines to combat some of our society’s deepest issues.

It is imperative that we go beyond honoring victims of gun violence with “#NeverAgain” on our social media accounts by taking impactful steps to ensure America’s gun violence epidemic comes to an end. 

Our lives depend on it.