On December 14, 2012, another page in the tragic history of gun violence in schools was written. Suspected gunman Adam Lanza's killing of at least 27 people, 18 of which were kindergarteners, is the latest and most horrific incident to happen in schools to date; however, gun violence in schools is not a new thing.
Since 1992, 32 school shootings have taken place, with one more horrible than the next. On May 1, 1992, Eric Houston killed four people and injured 10 more when he went on a shooting spree in his former high school. Three years later, in a 13-month span, four school shootings took place. On April 20, 1999, two students of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado shot and killed fifteen people and injured 27 others. On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 more before taking his own life at Virginia Tech. After all of these incidents, nothing was done.
In 2012, five school violence incidents have occurred including three since late September. But what does all of this mean for the modern political landscape? Many will argue that it would be insensitive to attempt to pass legislation at a time like this, as politics should take a back seat to the harsh realities of life, I would argue on the contrary.
The second amendment of the Bill of Rights states that, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In 1994, the Federal Assault Rifles Ban was passed, which greatly reduced the availability and prevalence of assault rifles in American society. This still maintained the integrity of the Second Amendment while still protecting the masses from those who were psychopathic enough to use an AR-15. The Act was fairly successful as in the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's 2004 report entitled, "The Impact of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Act" found that, "Since the law's enactment, however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] has traced to crime - a drop of 66% from the pre-ban rate. "With that radical drop in crime rate, one would expect that this ban be permanently enacted into our government's legislation; however, the act expired on September 13, 2004. Despite repeated attempts to reinstate the act or to make it permanent, nothing has been done.
With this horrific shooting today involving kindergarteners, five and six year olds who have no discernible ways to defend themselves, the American government needs to step in and reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and potentially more as gun violence in America is an issue that is more and more pressing with each and every incident.