Editorial: Oxford High and the Necessity of Gun Control

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A memorial was put up outside Oxford High School for the victims of the shooting.

STAFF WRITER Daniel Johnson

On November 30, a student opened fire in Oxford High School. In the few minutes before law enforcement arrived, he killed four students, and injured seven more. 

The shooter was 15-year old Ethan Crumbley, a student of Michigan high school Oxford High. The gun he had used in his attack, a 9mm pistol, had been given to him a week earlier as a birthday present from his parents. According to authorities, the weapon had been stored in an unlocked drawer in his parents’ bedroom before he brought it to school.

With this tragedy, Oxford High joins a rapidly growing list of US schools that have been the victims of school shootings over the past decades. In doing so, it brings the highly contested issue of gun control further into focus, at both a local and national scale.

It is doubtless that compromise will be necessary on the heated subject of gun control, as the country seeks to find balance between the private right to own a firearm and the public right to safety. It is this editor’s hope that the need for the safety of the country’s children can be a subject of agreement in the debate. To secure the safety of the country’s students, lawmakers must work together across party lines to produce meaningful legislation.

Ethan Crumbley gained unsupervised access to his father’s unprotected gun. Michigan lacks any comprehensive law to ensure the safe storage of firearms away from minors; the need for such legislation is proven by Crumbley’s actions. Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws aim to prevent child/teen gun violence like that at Oxford High. These laws impose liability onto gun owners when they fail to take important safety measures and allow firearms to fall into the hands of minors. Different CAP laws are being adopted in a variety of states across the country, and have seen subsequent reductions in gun-related injuries

It is the position of this editor that guns and other dangerous firearms must be more closely regulated, especially from minors. Unlimited access to a firearm creates the opportunity for the kind of tragedy that took place in Oxford High— it gives the power of immediate violence to strong emotions that might otherwise be peaceably calmed. 

For a high school student, this issue holds particular relevance. The easy access to a firearm in the United States makes another student’s threat to shoot up a school a very real possibility. Without increased regulation of guns, high school students still have access to deadly force on a whim. 

Pennsylvania lacks any Child Access Prevention laws, and there are none at the federal level. What stands in the way of a school shooter coming to MHS? Methacton High School is a name that could become as easily recognizable as Sandy Hook, Columbine, and now Oxford. It will take the public support of such measures as Child Access Prevention laws, in order to prevent another such tragedy.