Staff Editorial: Prevalence of gun violence should not return

“It’s important to stay safe” is a sentence we have heard frequently since the beginning of the decade. As COVID restrictions across the United States are slowly being lifted, we have returned to more tragedies and lives lost by gun violence. 

Even with vaccination rates rising and new cases falling, there are other reasons why it still may not feel safe to be in schools. Three school shootings have occurred in the state of North Carolina since the beginning of the academic year, including the Mount Tabor High School shooting in Winston-Salem. In addition, Bridgewater College in Virginia, an ODAC rival of Guilford, lost two campus officers, and multiple injuries were reported at Greensboro’s Trust nightclub; both incidents were caused by gun violence earlier this month. Over 6,000 deaths have been caused by gun violence in the United States in this calendar year alone. 

We have seen swift action take place at Guilford and outside of campus, such as quarantining and mandates for masks and vaccines, in order to keep people safe and prevent more deaths from COVID-19. It is worth it, at the very least, to genuinely attempt to take action to save lives from gun violence. It would be easy to hope that after aggressive attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, there would not be any other reason to urge people to avoid public places for their own safety. With proper organizing and policymaking to prevent gun violence-related injuries and deaths, there can still be that hope.  

Although we have seen several tragedies that are almost too much to count, we as a people also have momentum and determination for positive change. Two years ago, we saw not only a horrific and deadly virus, but also nationwide protests against the senseless killings of unarmed black Americans by police officers. Two years before that, we saw nationwide protests sparked by senseless school shootings. If no action is taken to prevent more acts of domestic terrorism caused by gun violence, we are going to see more protests across the nation this year, especially with certain COVID-19 mandates being lifted.    

The Guilfordian believes that Americans do have the right to bear arms. That is not going to change anytime soon, nor should it. However, we also strongly believe that we do not have the right to infringe upon the rights of others. We have seen enough tragic and preventable deaths already. We cannot afford to have more.