The recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has sparked conversations among students about gun control. According to a survey put out by Mustang News Feb. 20, 83 percent of respondents supported stricter gun control laws in the United States, while 17 percent opposed.
For some students, including chemistry freshman Natali Markowitz, the school shooting in Florida impacted their opinions on gun control.
“It definitely strengthened my opinion because not only was the shooting a lot more personal for me because it’s where I’m from, but it’s just another example of how not strict gun control is in this country, and [it] really shows how we need to change it,” Markowitz said.
Upon hearing about the movement to send supportive banners to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Markowitz organized an event encouraging Cal Poly students to stop by the University Union Plaza to sign a banner that has been sent to the high school. All of the banners were hung when the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas returned to school Feb. 27.
“Once it hits close to home, it really just shows you a different perspective, especially with kids our age,” Markowitz said. “These are 17 lives that are kids our age that’ll never be able to make more memories that we will.”
Many students are calling for change, some focused on stricter gun control and some focused on better care for people overall.
“There’s too much glorification over firearms, and I think that if more people were less gung-ho about absolutism in their opinions, I think we could make some more progress,” history sophomore Nevada Shannahan said.
Shannahan supports the policy to treat guns like cars and ensure gun owners have gone through training and reevaluations.
When addressing that the right to bear arms is stated in the Constitution, Shannahan said the Founding Fathers would never have believed that in 200 years, you could have something that would wipe out a crowd of people with such ease.
“Doing nothing only lets the problem continue, and doing anything can be a move in the right direction,” Shannahan said.
While some students think the issue can be resolved with more gun control, other students believe the gun is not the source of the problem.
“There’s a reason that in the Constitution, our Second Amendment is the right to bear arms,” environmental earth and soil science sophomore Sophia Ortiz said.
Ortiz said that at the time, it was a self-protection sort of freedom.
“Overall, that is still the case — nothing’s changed there — but at the same time you need to look out for people who aren’t looking to protect themselves, that are going out and trying to be violent,” Ortiz said.
While Ortiz said what happened in Florida is terrible, she does not think the issue stops at gun control. Instead, she said we should focus on better care for people in general.
“It’s not the gun’s fault, it’s the person pulling the trigger,” Ortiz said.
She explained that people with any mental issues or people who are going through something that might make them violent and angry at a group of people is what should be monitored in order to prevent something like a school shooting.
“If you don’t take care of the people, bad things happen,” Ortiz said.