After a 10 minute shooting rampage on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 19 year old Nicholas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of murder in the first degree.
Students turned to social media as a call for action. Many students went live on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook during the shooting, showing dead bodies and terrified faces while the shooting took place.
Some say that this was immoral, but thanks to the video footage of many, Cruz was identified and arrested later that day. Cruz later pled guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Unfortunately, this is not the first school shooting in the U.S. let alone this year. Since Jan. 1st of 2018 there have been 18 school shootings.
Former presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders tweeted after the Florida shooting on February 14 at 1:58 p.m. PST “maybe, just maybe, after 18 school shootings in America in just 43 days of 2018 the Congress might want to consider common-sense gun safety legislation and save innocent lives.”
It is sad and unfortunate to live in a society where retail chains are putting more effort into solving the obvious problem of gun violence than the U.S. government. Gun violence has been an issue since the beginning of time, but we have seen a large increase within the past decade.
On Feb. 28, 2018, Dicks Sporting Goods CEO, Ed Stack, announced that Dicks Sporting Goods will not only stop selling AR-15’s, but they are raising the minimum age for gun purchase to 21.
The company was “disturbed and upset” by the shooting in Parkland, Florida, says Stack. Cruz had boughten the gun used in the massacre from Dicks Sporting Goods back in November 2017. Legally. It is amazing to see the youth in this day and age buying assault rifles, but being turned down when trying to buy a pack of cigarettes at the gas station or a pack of beer at the liquor store.
Kinder eggs are illegal in the U.S. because they contain toys that may choke children, yet it is legal for an 18 year old to buy an assault rifle, a weapon designed for infantry use. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” say gun enthusiasts. If this is true, Kinder eggs don’t choke children, children choke themselves – right? Dick’s sporting goods openly supports the second amendment, but they are not ignoring the obvious issue of gun violence in this country.
The company wrote on Facebook “our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones. But thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids.”
Stack later made a statement to urge congress to enact stricter gun regulations such as: banning assault-style firearms, raise the minimum age of purchase to 21, and requiring universal background checks.
Dicks Sporting Goods is facing backlash for trying to keep children safe. 18 year old, Tristin Fulton, filed a lawsuit against the company for refusing to sell him a gun because of his age. Fulton commented “by denying me my right to purchase a firearm that day, they violated the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.”
The act’s purpose is “to prohibit discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.” Soon after, a 20 year old man named Tyler Watson sued a Field and Stream store, owned by Dicks, in Oregon who refused to sell him a gun.
In a statement made in response, Dicks Sporting Goods says “we support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us.”
America’s youth is urging their government to take action, and create more strict gun regulations to prevent massacres killing our families and friends. The government is ignoring our cries for help, but at least we have retail chains on our side.