National Protest Action
February 28, 2018
On February 14, 2018, a school shooter opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed seventeen people. The accused gunman, nineteen – year old Nikolas Cruz, was taken into custody and is awaiting trial. After the shooting numerous companies took action to distance themselves from and reduce business ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA), a non – profit group that is seen as an obstacle to enacting gun restriction legislation. While most companies eliminated discounts and benefits available to NRA members, the retail stores Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that they were raising the age limit to purchase guns from their stores from eighteen to twenty – one. Dick’s Sporting Goods also announced that they would no longer sell high capacity magazines at all. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
The actions taken by Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are admirable steps to combat the number of school shootings in America. But raising the age limit to twenty-one to purchase a gun from their stores does not completely address the issue. An editorial in the Richmond Times Dispatch on March 3, 2018 calculated that the average age of a spree killer in America was thirty – five years. In the October 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada the shooter Stephen Paddock was a sixty-four year old man and reportedly owned more than forty guns. The shooter in the Orlando nightclub shooting was a twenty-nine year old Afghani man. And in the Sandy Hook school shooting, Adam Lanza was a twenty – year old but had easy access to weapons because of his mother who was described as a “gun enthusiast.” Having the minimum age to purchase a gun would not have applied to these shooters except Adam Lanza although he still had easy access to weapons because of his mother.
Would raising the age limit to purchase guns really have an effect on reducing mass shootings? Schools are not the only places that have had to deal with gun violence. There have been incidents at concerts, a movie theater, military bases and even at an outdoor Congresswoman event in Arizona. The ages of these shooters are outside the range of eighteen to twenty-one years old. While the actions of Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods is a step in the right direction, what is needed to combat these incidents is to not merely place restrictions within a certain age range but to look at all of these incidents together and look for more common threads than age and location of the shooting. The epidemic of mass shootings in America have not been isolated only to schools and the shooters have not always been under the age of twenty-one. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
- Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence – non – profit group advocating an end to gun violence.
- Every Town For Gun Safety – non – profit group looking to end gun violence and build safer communities.
- Coalition To Stop Gun Violence – coalition group on issues of guns in America.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.