The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye February 2024 issue
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Shame on the U.S. Senate for rejecting new gun laws

More than 3,500 people have died in the United States because of gun violence since the Dec. 14 slaughter of 20 schoolchildren and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Even with these preventable deaths happening every single day in America, the U.S. Senate this last Wednesday voted to kill every single effective gun control proposal. Shame on them.

How many more mass shootings does our nation have to go through until the people who are supposed to represent us actually grow some guts and stand up to the powerful gun lobby? How many more Columbines, Virginia Techs, Tucsons, Oak Creeks, Newtowns, Cafe Racers do we have to go through for our senators to do the bare minimum?

The proposals that failed Wednesday were not radical amendments attacking the Second Amendment. They were common-sense measures supported by an overwhelming amount of Americans. A modest bipartisan amendment which would have expanded background checks to cover gun purchases at gun shows and on the internet was killed in the Senate. According to a Gallup poll, expanded background checks for gun purchases are supported by 92 percent of Americans.

The Senate also rejected an amendment that would reinstate the ban on military-style assault weapons in the U.S. such as the Bushmaster AR-15 in which Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook shootings or the Smith & Wesson M&P15 James Eagan Holmes used in his July 20, 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.

Other common-sense proposals the Senate rejected include one designed to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds of bullets. Lanza used six different 30-round magazines at Sandy Hook. He was able to fire 154 bullets in about four minutes. In the time it took Lanza to reload, 11 children were able to escape from a classroom. If this ban on high-capacity magazines were in effect before Sandy Hook, Lanza would have been forced to reload 15 times instead of six.

The Senate even rejected a proposal to increase the punishment for straw purchases and trafficking of guns.

To make it worse, several parents of slain Sandy Hook students were watching all of the votes from the Senate gallery. Family members wept as one by one, every gun control proposal was shot down.

According to the campaign finance watchdog website, the 45 senators who voted against the background checks amendment have received a combined $7,815,000 from national gun-lobby groups such as the NRA.

The senators who voted against these proposals should feel shameful. They betrayed the memory of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook along with the over one million Americans that have been shot and killed since 1968. How many more Americans have to die before our leaders stand up to the powerful gun lobby and do something about it?

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