Time is ticking for new gun control laws, for us


On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 there was a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This was taken at the scene after the shooting happened.//Photo courtesy of Kalina Migliavasca

Kalina Migliavasca saw her world change in just a matter of hours on Feb. 14, 2018. At 2:47 p.m., she received a text message from her youngest son, Noah.

“Mom,” he wrote, “This is important.” She replied back asking what was happening, to which Noah only replied, “Look at the news.”

Migliavasca is one of the many parents who saw their children under the attack of a shooter on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Noah goes to the middle school nearby, but his older brother, Lucca, was stuck inside his classroom waiting for something to happen. Migliavasca got in touch with Lucca a few minutes later, who said the shooter “pulled the fire alarm so kids went outside,” and that they were “not allowed to leave” yet.

It wasn’t until 5 p.m. that Migliavasca was reunited with her two sons outside of the perimeters of the school.

“From the time I got his first message, until the time I finally (met) him, my heart was almost jumping out of my chest,” said Migliavasca. “There was nothing I could do. 17 lives were lost. My son could be one of them.”

As I read the news that same day, I felt sad and frustrated that nothing had been done to avoid another incident like this. I was particularly disappointed when the FBI admitted they had received a tip on a possible shooting last month, but didn’t give it too much attention.

But unlike the many other incidents where I would shake my head, sigh and move on with my life, I found this actually hit closer to me than I would think. Migliavasca is a very close friend to my family, so much so that I consider her an aunt. Just the thought of Lucca stuck in school with his classmates while a shooter ran around the halls made me want to hop on a plane and do something to help him.

Luckily, my cousin came out alive and with no injuries. But he did witness other kids who were hurt and even saw a few bodies on his way out. It infuriates me that they had to experience something so traumatic at an early age.

And what makes me even more concerned is that I know this won’t be the last time the United States will witness an event like that. As long as there is no change whatsoever in gun control laws, mass shootings will not disappear from this country’s reality.

Just last year, in early October, Stephen Paddock opened fire against a crowd of 22,000 attendees at a country festival in Las Vegas. This episode was considered the deadliest mass shooting of all time.

Not even a month went by when Devin Patrick Kelley also shot and killed 26 people at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The shooter of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz, gunned down 17 students. The 19-year-old had a semi-automatic rifle when he committed the slaughter.

But my question is, how many people are going to die until we finally create barriers for people who want to buy guns?

Throughout my life, I have heard different arguments about why it is okay to give citizens the right to buy their own guns, such as safety. However, the process of getting guns shouldn’t be an easy one.

“I believe that every American has the right to have your own gun,” said Migliavasca. “The problem is that everyday people that under no circumstances should carry a gun, are getting them easily. They do criminal background checks, but nobody seems to care about medical records.

“This was a tragedy that could’ve been avoided if a medical history was also required in order to buy a gun.”

I agree with her. There has to be some sort of psychological test for buyers and an investigation of the person’s past activities. The police should also always investigate any clues or tips on possible attacks, even if they eventually lead nowhere.

The New York Times is now calling us the “mass shooting generation,” because we have grown up surrounded by news stories about gun violence. This shouldn’t be the case anymore. The attack to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School must be the last if we want to stop losing loved ones and living in constant fear.

Just this past Friday, my friends and I received alerts about a possible shooting at Arizona Pete’s, a bar here in Greensboro. While I was looking for more information on this rumor, I found out that different Guilford County schools received threats after the shooting in Parkland. This is the type of paranoia and constant fear that citizens should not have to go through. The government must find solutions for this problem quickly.

A good example comes from other countries. Since 1996, Australia has not had a single mass shooting, according to USA Today. New gun control measures were taken after 35 people were killed in a tourist area of Port Arthur, Tasmania.

The states initiated a banning of rapid-fire guns and even offered to buy any prohibited firearms. Their plan seems to be working just fine, so why can’t the U.S. do the same or something similar?

Since the shooting happened, many kids from the school have come forward publicly to ask their representatives to take action and change laws not only for themselves, but the rest of the country. They are hoping that this is the last school shooting in America.

I hope so, too. I hope that the government listens to its people’s plea. In my home country, Brazil, we had elections about gun control in 2003. We were given a choice to decide about out future in regards to violence. Americans deserve the same rights.

And even if things don’t magically change overnight, we would at least like to know that our representatives are working hard to keep us safe.

This is also the least they can do for the families of the victims who will never come home.

“How many more lives need to be lost so this law can change?” said Migliavasca. “I really hope that citizens, politicians, lawmakers wake up before it is too late.”