In three weeks we’re going to forget about this. Again.
The true tragedy of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida is that it’ll be forgotten in roughly three weeks until the next tragedy comes along. Forgetting this incident shouldn’t be the case.
As with previous mass shootings, my Facebook wall has been flooded with two types of posts. There’s the posts from people sending their thoughts and prayers to the families in the Florida town of Parkland, and the posts aggressively demanding change in gun control policy, but rarely has there been any language about contacting legislatures in these posts.
As news outlets continue to report after the incident, they’ll cover the students returning to school next week – if they don’t decide to tear the school down and turn it into a memorial – as well as the shooter’s trial. By the time the shooter’s trial is done – unless a plea bargain is reached – the shock factor of the shooting will have subsided, if it’s not completely forgotten by then.
Yet, with the continuous problem of mass shooting, both on and off school campuses, precise legislation reform regarding the Second Amendment is dire, and especially considering the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
According to Time magazine, the AR-15 has been used in six of the last 10 deadly mass shootings within the last decade.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said in an interview with NPR that Congress could do a better job of fixing the problem surrounding mass shootings. Rounds has an A-rating from the National Rifle Association, meaning that he’s typically voted against gun control legislation.
Currently, there are no laws set forth by the state legislature prohibiting firearms on any college campus within the state of South Dakota. The only law on the books prohibits licensed concealed handguns on K-12 campuses, according to the site Armed Campuses.
According to page 52 of the 2017-2018 USD Student Handbook, residential students can store their firearms free of charge at the University Police Department (UPD). USD’s firearms policy falls within range of the Student Code of Conduct as outlined by the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR).
The SDBOR also bans concealed firearms on all public colleges and universities, according to Armed Campuses.
Yet, students aren’t required to store their firearms with UPD if they have a vehicle. The Student Handbook states that “storage of any otherwise lawful firearm, out of plain view and inside a locked personal motor vehicle, is permitted on university property.” It’s worth noting that the USD Student Handbook does not require students to report if they are storing firearms in their vehicles.
With aiming to creating safer campuses, there is no easy solution. Especially with the example of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the shooter was a former student.
However, it’s time to look at how important campus safety is. It’s time to contact our local and state representatives to tell them to start working towards a solution of preventing mass shootings, especially after seeing Florida students’ peaceful protests of lie-ins in Washington D.C.
So far, no concrete action has been taken. It’s time to change that by demanding action from our legislators.