Where should our priorities lie?


Used with permission by Canva/Natalie Nolan

According to the Independent, including the most recent shooting, there have been 39 incidents involving guns on the premises, but a jaw-dropping 18 school shootings

Natalie Nolan, Staff writer

After what 2022 brought, many were hoping for a more promising 2023. And while it may have started that way, the year has taken a turn for the worst. Currently, the biggest threat facing Congress is that TikTok is to be banned due to other governments taking our information. Many will argue that more pressing issues lie in the recent and frequent school shootings. According to the Independent, including the most recent shooting, there have been 39 incidents involving guns on the premises, but a jaw-dropping 18 school shootings. It leads some to question why Congress is more focused on banning an app over prioritizing kids’ safety at school.

To fully understand what is happening, we need to start with the first reason why the topic of banning TikTok is up for debate. The New York Times states that the company is owned by ByteDance and may be putting sensitive data into the hands of the government such as location. While this sounds intimidating and not something you would necessarily want in your life, is it really the biggest threat in society? As stated earlier, school shootings are on the rise, but why? An article posted by VCU News says that the reasoning behind these acts can be extremely different, but some reasons can be bullying or actions that have been self-inflicted via social media and they believe they are doing something for a higher purpose. These do not hit all the points but it is a common factor that can be intensified.

 One might also ask, how are so many guns being bought? The process of getting a gun, if you meet the criteria, does not take much time at all.VCU states that you can purchase these weapons when you are 18 or older and meet a few other criteria. In fact, it is easier to buy a gun than adopt a dog, which involves home inspections to decide if the living space is fit for a dog. William V. Pelfrey, a writer for VCU, goes as far as to say, “From a professional perspective, it reminded me there are too many people with guns, the wrong people with guns, and that nothing is going to change.” This does not mean that anyone who owns a gun is irresponsible, it simply points out the fact that there are people out there who will use it for the wrong reasons; as of right now, the only thing that stands between them and an extremely dangerous weapon is meeting “a few criteria.” Some may say that things in our society are damaging and should be removed, and they are not wrong, but guns have the ability to take someone’s life all for revenge.

At this point, one might be thinking that there must be something we can do in order to be more cautious with the guns being sold. Good news; there is! No, it is not banning all guns, but simply putting heavier restrictions on purchasing one. For example, asking more in-depth questions about the person or checking their background. If there are concerns, then it might be better to do some more digging before allowing said person to purchase a very dangerous weapon. Another solution would be classes on how to properly use this weapon. While some may know all about their gun, it is better to have someone understand what they have instead of doing irreversible damage all because they could not use the gun properly. According to 24/7 Wall St., in 2022 about 5,146,500 guns were sold, this suggests that heavier restrictions should be in place with these increasing sales. While the debate between TikTok and the increase in school shootings are both significant, we must focus on an increasing threat that worries millions. Parents should not have to send their children to school and be worried. Shelters should not have to be installed in schools because this happens frequently. It is time to focus on what issues are happening and make sure our priorities keep people safe.