By: Kristen Chirino, J.D. Candidate, May 2019, St. Thomas University School of Law.

Once again, the nation is faced with yet another school shooting.  On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire in the hallways after pulling the fire alarm, killing seventeen people, fourteen students and three faculty. Although shocking, the news of a school shooting has become all too familiar to Americans. As usual, the media’s first reaction is always to promote gun-control and criticize Congress for not acting sooner to prevent such tragedies. However, gun-control may not be the answer to ending school shootings.  Although certain changes to gun-control laws can be beneficial, the “ban on guns” movement will not be practical and will likely be unconstitutional

The real issue is not guns, but the people who choose guns to carry out acts of violence.  It is absurd to say that guns are the cause of these violent acts, and that changing the rules for purchasing them is going to stop them.  The reality is that any possible solution to school shootings involves a trade-off that most are not willing to accept. The most common offered solutions include gun-control, restricting coverage of school shootings, and targeting the mentally ill. Each of these would almost certainly violate several constitutional rights, and there is no guarantee that they will be successful in preventing school shootings.

The reality is that human beings are the real problem, and the weapons they use to carry out acts of violence are not the causes of it.  However, that does not mean that nothing can be done.  Many events like the recent Florida shooting could have been prevented.  The FBI had received a report of a suspicious comment made by the shooter months before, claiming that he would become a professional shooter. There are many laws and policies in place to prevent these tragedies, and the solution may just be to follow those correctly and consistently.  Unless Americans are willing to sacrifice their rights which they have fought vigorously for, lawmakers should focus on a way to better identify mass shooters rather than legislation regarding the purchase and sale of guns.