Parkland, FL shooter reignites debate on gun control

February 20, 2018 12:53 PM

"After Sandy Hook happened, I said to my wife I'd gladly give this gun up if it would save the life of one child," said New York gun owner Scott Pappalardo.

Five years since the Sandy Hook shooting, which claimed the lives of over two dozen children and adults, more than 1,700 adults and children have died in 1,000 U.S. mass shootings according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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"Is the right to own this weapon more important than someone's life," Pappalardo said.

Last Wednesday's mass shooting in Parkland Florida that claimed 17 lives compelled Pappalardo to destroy his AR-15 rifle in a viral Facebook post, saying the world is better without it. 

The same gun was used in the Sandy Hook and Parkland, Florida shootings.

More gun owners are expressing similar feelings on social media. This time around, it seems students are leading this debate.

"They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "We call bs."

"They deserve to be heard," said Craig Serafini, who owns Upstate Guns and Ammo in Schenectady.

However, Serafini also said the problem is not guns. According to him, it’s mental illness. 

"And if we can appropriately define that and give doctors a way in which they can appropriately put that information into the system, it can be used effectively to prevent people from buying firearms or any other item that they might use to harm somebody," he said. 

A mental health report shows Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz has a history of mental illness.

Sarafini, who is also a father, said better school safety is also needed. 

"We need armed resource officers on school campus," Serafini said. "We need to potentially get metal detectors." 

Whether all sides of the debate can agree on a solution is still unclear.

"I hope and pray that it doesn't take the barrel of one of these guns pointed at your child's head to change your minds," Pappalardo said. 


Nia Hamm

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