The safety of children isn’t up for debate

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Gracie Moore, Reporter

As a result of a mother’s carelessness, many families spent the first days of the new year in fear for their children’s safety.

“Our children shouldn’t have to live like this in our schools,” user Deanna James-Blackburn commented in a Facebook group against gun violence.

In Newport, Virginia, a six-year-old shot and severely wounded first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner in the middle of her lesson. The boy brought the handgun to school. It was purchased by his mother.

Let’s break this down: A six-year-old child brought a gun to school with him. A first-grader was able to obtain and use a firearm. Furthermore, a gun and ammunition were left in reach of a child.

It’s difficult to put into words, but it is extremely alarming for the safety of our nation that a child can reach and shoot a gun.

The ease of access of guns for adults is disturbing enough. But children with easy access to guns due to their guardians’ negligence is unbelievably shocking.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics

The 26 lives lost in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, should have served as a catalyst for change, but 10 years later, 21 lives were taken in Uvalde, Texas, in an alarmingly similar situation at Robb Elementary School.

It shouldn’t take thousands of children dying for the nation to understand the effects of firearm carelessness and the ease at which firearms can be obtained in the U.S.

Despite the severity of a parent losing their child, certain far-right conspiracists have decided to use these shootings as an opportunity to twist the narrative for their own gain.

Alex Jones, far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist, wasted no time creating conspiracies surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting just hours after it took place.

Jones theorized that the shooting was planned by the government as a way to take away the freedom of firearms. He added that the families of the children and adults who were shot were involved.

The right to bear arms has become so deeply entrenched in some people’s minds that freedom has become more important than a child’s safety.”

— Gracie Moore

Jones’s lies caused the families to become vulnerable to online threats and harassment by other conspiracists. Jones was so concerned with his rights being taken away that, in his thirst for freedom in bearing firearms, he damaged every family or person affected by gun violence.

Jones’s ignorance cost him over a billion dollars after Sandy Hook families sued him for defamation. The lawsuit resulted in him eventually filing for bankruptcy.

The right to bear arms has become so deeply entrenched in some people’s minds that freedom has become more important than a child’s safety.

I don’t think that all guns should be taken away. It doesn’t need to be that radical. People with adequate personal and mental health background checks who keep their firearm far away from children should be able to own a handgun if they choose to. But the fact that it is easier for a child to obtain a firearm than certain cold medicines is simply outrageous.

Something has to change or nothing ever will. The pernicious advocacy for more firearm freedom and less restrictions continues to cause these devastating shootings that leave children and families living in fear.

Gun violence should not be on a political agenda. The safety of children cannot be equated to social and political hierarchy.

So I ask this to those who support loose gun laws without any consideration for others: how many children have to die before the nation as a whole realizes the gravity of carelessness? Is your political gain more important than the life of a child?