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SCHOOL GUN VIOLENCE: Taking a Teenager’s Life Away
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SCHOOL GUN VIOLENCE: Taking a Teenager’s Life Away

January 23, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Arif Miah, Dariana Velez, Malak Saleh, Yuki Wang

“I feel free that nobody is going to bring a gun or something dangerous to the school,” said a female student named Brisen, she is 14 years old,  from Union Square Academy for Health Science.


The sad truth is that students often have fears for their lives in school as a long history of school shootings occurred in the U.S. All too often, the U.S. society finds itself reeling from the school shooting again and again, and some of these events are gathered media attention than others. Shootings at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are only three of the numerous U.S. school shootings occurring over the past two decades. The first mass school shooting that happened in the U.S. was in 1999, it was a shooting at a school called Columbine High School. 13 people died that day, when two students got inside the school and they started shooting. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are the two students who make the homicide, this event happened 20 years ago in Colorado, United States. School is not safe any more, things need to be changed. 


Union Square Academy for Health Science Security Interview 




The 2nd Amendment that are according to the Constitution 2nd Amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (U.S Constitution) This means that people have a Constitutional right to own a gun. And this right has been upheld by the Supreme Court in several cases including the case McDonald v. City of Chicago. This case was about people having their own handguns. The Supreme Court said that cities and state laws were subject to the Second Amendment and Chicago’s law to ban handguns was unconstitutional. This decision end with 5-4 votes very close is just 1 vote make the difference. (McDonald v. City of Chicago | Summary, Decision, History, & Facts).


Although the right to own a gun applies to the entire country, states still have differences in their gun laws. For example, California states where they can get a gun just the sheriff local can approve if the person can have their own gun but also every person that has a gun have to register the gun,California. “California gun laws that have been enacted are considered restrictive compared to other US state laws. 


FLORIDA have other rules for the people can have firearm first people can have can petition to have a firearm, second, the person has to wait a list three- day for purchase a gun, three, people unless 21 years old  to buy a gun and four, they can’t transfer or give to anyone any type of ammunition. 


TEXAS they don’t require license of owners, permit to purchase, permit to carry, registration of firearms you just can have a weapons and nothing happen “ Texas does not require a permit, registration, or license for guns” (What are the gun laws in Texas, and what's changing Sept. 1?


NEW YORK is one of the states where a have a gun is more toughest for get a gun, first you have to have a license for can have a gun and this law operate under control “May Issue”  and dependent what person is the may issue depend is which state can you bring the gun to havet. “New York gun laws are some of the toughest in the United States. There are separate laws for New York state and New York City where you are required to have a license for both long guns and handguns. The New York state gun laws are regarded as very restrictive and operate on a “May Issue” policy at the local county level. This means that the issuance of a pistol license is entirely up to the issuing officer. As a rough rule, the higher the population of a county the more restrictive gun laws become with New York City being the most restrictive.”


People might say that gun laws will infringe the right to self-defense and won’t give people the opportunity to protect themselves so banning guns should not be an option. However, guns are rarely used in self defence because according to Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Its stated, “We found that firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.” This shows that people who use guns are not the people who defend themselves. They are the people who use them for unnecessary reasons and scare people.


We interviewed Gregory Leedy, a Republican gun owner in Pennsylvania, he said, “There has been a lot gun law, they should be enforced, that’s why it’s put there. And that doesn’t happen all the time, and those people they are sale guns don’t follow the guideline. The gun law should be more strict.” 


There is not enough gun control, students should not be able to so easily get guns because innocent people are dying. Imagine losing your son, daughter or a friend. It's a terrible thing to face. Same as what school shootings do that hurt families forever. School shootings affect students and people who are in the school. But when victims die, their families and friends become the people who are affected the most. They are the ones who will suffer the separation of their loved ones. They are the ones who will have to live with the pain their whole lives. 


“Every year, tens of thousands of guns enter the illegal market through a number of channels, including: straw purchases, corrupt gun dealers, sales by unlicensed sellers who aren’t required to conduct background checks, gun thefts, and bulk gun purchases.” That is why there should be stronger laws about selling guns. It should not be easy for underage people to own a gun and use it illegally. Its should be impossible for a young person to own a gun. It's so sad when innocent people die by a shooting. It hurts their family. It hurts us a community. That's why laws must be stronger. 


We had an interview with Anthony J. Lemma III, District Director in Grace Meng Congresswoman’s office, He talked about the Supreme Court gun case, gun laws and the people in the community. “The Congresswoman and the house passed hundreds of bills on gun violence background checks, bump stocks, but it can't get through the senate because Mitch McConnell kills everything. We all know about how the president feels about guns loves them. We have a lot of good pieces of legislation that are just stuck in the senate. We can raise our voices and be loud about it these shootings are impacting all communities, synagogues, churches, kids in schools.” 


Anthony J. Lemma III, District Director in Grace Meng Congresswoman’s office, December 8, 2019.



In 2019, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. New York City, the largest gun case in the Supreme Court in nearly a decade. This case is about the main ruling that cities and states can restrict pistols to their administration area. Earlier this year, the judges agreed to hear an appeal about New York City's pistol regulations, which enforced strict conditions on permits and how gun owners can transport guns from one place to another. New York officials are concerned the High Court's decision could have a significant impact on national gun control, so they asked the court to dismiss the case.



Currently there are 91,114 high schools in the whole country have metal detectors. However, many schools do not have metal detectors. There is lack of metal detectors in school. For the safety of students, teachers or anyone who is in a school, schools should own a metal detector so there would be no chance for someone to enter the school having a gun. The metal detectors will prevent a lot of bad things from happening. Its will prevent people inside the school to be killed or hurt. 

However, schools owning metal detectors is controversial because some people agree with the metal detector but other people do not agree with it. We interviewed a security guard in the Union Square Academy for Health Science, a school with metal detectors. She said that for the safety of all, schools should have metal detectors because people can get into ocaiations then they want to bring things. “We can prevent things happening like stabbing, shootings, smoking. We see everything, we see liters, we see cigarettes. I want my daughter to go to a school that has a metal detector. Because you never know what somebody is thinking or what they will bring, metal detectors are needed.”

Conversely, Paris, 17 years old girl who is the student attended in Union Square Academy for Health Science said “I think this school is not safe with the metal detector because any ways we can bring any suspicious to the school because they don’t even pay attention. I wish the metal detector is not in the school because what happen if I bring a weapon for my own safety. I feel that I understand that they are doing this for our own safety sometimes. When we have a fire drill is take to much time for cross the metal detector and more if you don’t have you ID for swipe.”










We also interviewed the principal and two teachers from Flushing International High School, which does not have metal detectors, and they said that they don't think the school needs a metal detector because Flushing International HS is a very safe school. 


Ms. Michele DeBono, history teacher, says “I don’t get the point for this school have a metal detector. I think the only ways that we can resolve the problems with the gun is we talk with the students and also the parents.”

Mr. Kevin Marquez, ELA teacher adds “We have a very tight community, we always have concern for all our students, I think we have open communications and that is very important and I think the metal detector can’t resolve the problem.” 

We also interviewed the principal from Flushing International HS, Mr. Kevin Hesseltine and he also disagree with the school have metal detector, he said that he personally against it because he feels like it makes our student feels like they are going in a prison and he want students to feel like more of a welcoming place.

On the other side, the mother of one student from Flushing International HS felt that is better if the school have a metal detector “because the metal detector can check everyone’s access, including the entry and exit of those lawbreakers, if they have dangerous goods on him, it detects these. It’s safe for children. There is a certain guarantee.” 

We also interviewed the security in the Union Square Academy for Health Science, she said “For the safety of all, schools should have metal detectors because people can get into situations then they want to bring things. And we can prevent things happening like stabbing, shootings, smoking. We see everything. We see lighters, we see cigarettes. I want my daughter to go to a school that has a metal detector. Because you never know what somebody is thinking or what they will bring. Metal detectors are needed.”  

Additionally, we conducted a survey in which 108 junior and senior students in the FIHS responded. Based on the survey, it shows that 73% of students think school is safe, 72% of students think security is keeping school safe, 19% of students doesn't think the security is keeping the school safe. 

In regards to metal detectors, 40% of students think FIHS should use a metal detector, 31% of students think the opposite way and 29% of students not sure whether school should own a metal detector or not. 

As for gun ownership, 9% of students think under 21 year old can get a gun, 81% of students think the under 21 year old can’t get a gun. 

There are 73.1% of students from  FIHS think school is safe, and only 2.8% of students think school is not safe, but 30.3% of students still think school should own a metal detector just in case. But in the country, the data from students by randomly selected  shows that 59% of students think school is safe, compared with FIHS survey data, 73.1% of students think school is safe. 

As the results of our interviews and survey shows the question of metal detectors people agree and disagree. For some reason people are thinking about installing a metal detector is because they are concerned about the safety problem. But for some that are disagree installing a metal detector can be understood that schools will not consider installing because of its negative effects on students’ feelings and rights. 

School is the place must be a safe, students must be guaranteed in classes, and schools must be responsible for the safety of students. If the country cannot or will not enact greater gun control laws then every year, students or teachers will continue to die in the shooting. 

For a school then, one way to protect itself is to have greater communication between families, students and school officials. And another way is to install metal detectors, although many people will be opposed to it.


  Union Square Academy for Health Science with a metal detector, November 26, 2019.


Principal from Flushing International HS, Kevin Hesseltine, November 12, 2019.

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FIHS Students Survey

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