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Column: gun violence should be stopped after Uvalde shooting

On Tuesday, May 24, a little over a week since the shooting at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York, 19 fourth grade students and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The shooting comes as we approach the ten-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, which left 20 first grade students and six adult staff members dead.

The Sandy Hook shooting ranks second in highest death toll from a school shooting, following behind the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007 that left 31 students and one teacher dead.

The shooting at Robb Elementary currently has the third highest death count from a school shooting.

As of May 26, the bodies of 19 students and two teachers have been identified, but authorities have not released all their names.

A student who survived the shooting told KENS 5 that he and four other boys hid under a table in the classroom.

“When I heard the shooting through the door, I told my friend to hide under something so he won’t find us,” he said. “I was hiding hard. And I was telling my friend to not talk because he is going to hear us.”

The boy said that just before opening fire, the alleged gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, said, “It’s time to die.”

In an interview with the New York Post, a second survivor’s aunt said her niece used her dead teacher’s phone to call 911 without Ramos noticing, then covered herself in a friend’s blood, laid on top of her body and played dead.

According to the girl’s aunt, she felt when her friend stopped breathing.

Despite its high numbers, the Robb Elementary shooting ranks seventh in the deadliest mass shootings in recent history.

“Let me emphasize something that I know you all know,” said Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, in a press conference about the shooting on Wednesday. “The reality is, as horrible as what happened, it could have been worse.”

How much worse does something have to get before a change is made?

According to a study published by the CDC in February 2021, gun violence was the leading cause of death for children and teens aged one to 19 years of age. 60% of teen and child gun deaths were homicides that year.

According to the Associated Press, the shooting at Robb Elementary is the worst mass shooting in a US school or college since Sandy Hook. It is the 14th school shooting resulting in the deaths of four or more people, not including the perpetrator, since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

In the United States, background checks are done when buying a gun from a licensed dealer. Private sellers, such as those at gun shows, do not require background checks despite providing a legal sale.

In a 2019 study done by Boston University School of Public Health researcher Michael Siegel, it was found that universal background checks, permit requirements, laws where local authorities approve who is allowed concealed carry – also known as “may carry” laws – and laws banning people convicted of violent misdemeanors from owning and purchasing firearms would significantly lower the amount of gun-related deaths for individuals and groups.

“The main lesson that comes out of this research is that we know which laws work,” Siegel said in an interview with The Brink, Boston University’s research publication. “Despite the fact that opponents of gun regulation are saying, ‘We don’t know what’s going on, it’s mental health issues, it’s these crazy people,’ which doesn’t lend itself to a solution—the truth is that we have a pretty good grasp at what’s going on. People who shouldn’t have access to guns are getting access.”

Kids should feel safe in school, but instead, they must go each day fearing for their lives.

Our children are on the front lines. They are the ones who must protect themselves in school. They are the ones having to hide under tables and play dead while their teachers, classmates and friends are gunned down in front of them.

Our children are the ones living with those images for the rest of their lives.

There is no worse. It’s time for this to be stopped.

Written by Bailey Storey, photo editor. Photos courtesy of 

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