Florida Shooting Exposes Need for Gun Reform


A recent shooting in Florida shows a dire need for gun reform. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Gun control is one of the nation’s most polarizing issues, with no unifying policies in sight. But with the recent escalation of gun violence, ignoring the issue is no longer a viable option. There may be no better example of this than the recent altercation last Sunday with a former Marine in Florida. 

Gun violence is like a virus, popping up and infecting people from all walks of life. Friends, family, neighbors and strangers alike are suffering from the lack of current gun regulation. Something substantial should have been done long ago to secure the safety of the American people, but at this point, even a partial solution is better than allowing these crimes to continue unabated.

Current gun laws and regulations are in need of a serious update. Despite the potential counterargument that it could be discriminatory, gun sales need to be strictly regulated. Those wishing to purchase firearms should be subjected to a rigorous psychological screening. It is necessary to ensure individuals are fit to carry such a dangerous weapon. 

Similarly, individuals with prior convictions of any kind, whether or not the cases are sealed, should have to undergo further investigation before obtaining the right to purchase a firearm. 

Another measure that should be implemented in the gun-obtainment process is mandatory counseling courses in order to purchase a gun. These courses should begin at the date of purchase. They should continue until the counselor or counselors are sure that the gun owner is of sound mind and understands the risks that come with owning a deadly weapon.

Aside from current gun laws, the police force needs to readjust their policies when it comes to dealing with gun violence. In the recent attack on Sunday, the Florida Police Department received ample notice two hours prior to the shooting that a suspicious man was lurking around the neighborhood where the shooting occurred. Although the man had left by the time police arrived, officers should have made it a priority to track down the man and question him. 

Had the police officers made more of an effort to localize this dangerous individual, all four victims could have survived. It is utterly shocking to me that this crime occurred when such a simple solution existed. 

As a police officer, these individuals should treat their job with the utmost importance. The work that they do can be the difference between life and death. Yet in cases like these, it becomes apparent that police forces across the U.S. lack the necessary cohesion and will to defend innocent people.

As it currently stands, American gun laws are facilitating brutal mass murders.  Though one can not hope to cure the gun violence epidemic with a quick and simple fix, allowing things to proceed as they have thus far would be an abomination to the American people.

The shooting that occurred last Sunday was not an isolated incident, which should be another clear indicator that change is necessary. If gun violence was a rare occurrence, perhaps we could get away with leaving our current practices in place. 

However, the frequency with which these kinds of incidents occur is far too alarming to ignore. Change needs to happen now, rather than merely spoken of. 

Mental health reform is a logical first step, but stricter laws are imperative. Many people are fiercely protective of any infringement on their Second Amendment rights. It is time they sit down and take a moment to evaluate whether or not their desire for freedom matters more than the lives of their neighbors.

Carolyn Branigan, FCRH ’24, is an English major from Tinton Falls, N.J.