What will it take to end school shootings?

A man mourning at a memorial for the victims of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Photo courtesy NBC News.

Statistically, 2018 was America’s worst year in terms of gun violence in schools. Last year, 113 people were killed or injured in school shootings in the U.S.

With many parts of  the United States having about 180 school days per year that means on average a school shooting happened once every eight school days.

Despite the seemingly unending violence, instructors like Tallahassee Community College’s Elise Ray Mohallil and Florida A&M University’s Helen M. Brethauer-Gay remain undeterred in their daily routine.

“I am aware of the possibility of a shooting every day. It doesn’t control my day, but it is in the back of my mind. Awareness, education, and alertness are only defenses,” said Mohallil, a humanities professor at TCC.

“I'm not frightened or worried. When my time is up, it will be up, until then, I live.” Brethauer-Gay, an associate professor in FAMU’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

Since the beginning of 2019, lawmakers and gun control advocates like former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords continue to push for legislation and other measures in states across the country like New York, California, Texas, and here in Florida to strengthen gun control laws.

But as the violence in our schools and our communities shows no sign of abating, there are some like Mohalli who believe it’s going to take more action.

“We need our politicians to stop taking blood money from gun corporations and the NRA. We need laws in this country that protect us. We need to ban assault weapons, including semi-automatic weapons. We need universal background checks and stronger laws against those who have domestic violence in their past obtaining guns,” Mohallil said.

While there are those who are fighting to keep guns out of schools, Republicans backed by the NRA like Florida State Rep. Mike Hill, look to repeal gun control measures like the post-Parkland school shooting restrictions (part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act signed into law in March 2018) on the grounds that these measure violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Many critics, including Parkland survivor David Hogg, and FAMU’s Brethauer-Gay, believe that by repealing the regulations, more lives would be lost with Hogg stating that the “blood would be on their hands.”

"The logic behind what they’re doing is incredibly flawed. As citizens, we all have the right to bear arms and always will. Few think about repealing one section of our basic document and it is the NRA’s fear mongering that makes some think that way. But the types of weapons available now are much different that what our forefathers used, and along with that evolution in weapons has come a change in common knowledge of what a gun is, what it does, and how to use it. Few have it. They are not toys to be played with. The consequences of their use is final.” Brethauer-Gay said.