You’ve heard the saying that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Well now Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and the rest of their brave crew are proving that good guys without guns can stop bad guys with guns too.
Parkland kids are doing more than just speaking out; they are saving lives already. Since the shooting just over a month ago, five states have already passed new gun laws. Several other states have new laws poised to pass and the discussion on common sense control has been opened up like it never has before.
In Oregon, a bill passed that banned people who have been convicted of stalking, domestic violence, or who are under a restraining order from buying or owning a gun or ammunition. Rhode Island has established what is called a red flag policy that will keep guns away from those who could pose a significant threat to society. Florida changed the age to purchase a rifle from 19 to 21, and Washington banned the sale and use of bump stocks and Vermont changed the legal age to buy a weapon to 21. Today in New York a law was passed that requires convicted domestic abusers to turn in all guns, not just handguns as was the law before.
This discussion has caused many to re-think their positions on gun control. Republican Vermont Governor, Phil Scott said, “”It’s a tremendous responsibility as governor to make sure that you protect the citizens of the state so this isn’t an easy decision for me to make, but I have to look at it broadly and ask myself, do some soul searching and ask myself … are we doing everything we can to protect our kids, and the answer for me at that point in time was no.” Vermont is about to change their laws as well.
“Good guys without guns” are saving lives but we will never know exactly which major incident didn’t happen because it won’t happen. However, we can tell lives are being saved based on the statistics we do have. For instance gun deaths in Connecticut have decreased dramatically since stronger gun laws were put in place after the shooting at Sandy Hook. In comparison, Missouri has been loosening their gun laws over the past decade, and gun violence has gone up. Before the repeal, from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s gun homicide rate was 13.8% higher than the national rate. From 2008 to 2014, it was 47% higher.
There’s no doubt that the kids from Parkland are making a difference already. Whether they are successful in voting out the cowardly politicians who won’t even look at sensible gun control remains to be seen. But even if “big wigs” like Frank Stallone and Ted Nugent got their way and these kids just disappeared, the truth is that they’ve already made an impact. You may not realize they saved your life, just like you don’t know when efforts by MADD stopped a drunk driver, but the stats don’t lie. These regulations are saving lives and it’s the kids that we have to thank for getting the conversation going.