Gun Control, Where Are We One Year After Parkland?

Roughly a year ago on February 14, 2018, Stoneman Majority Douglas High School was under attack by Nicolas Cruz for about 7 minutes. The outcome resulted in 17 casualties, many more injuries, and the spark of a movement that has lit wildfires of fear and passion for gun control across the United States. So, one year later, what has changed? Over the year, attention towards the desperate need for gun control has made the public more involved than ever. In multiple states, gun control policies were updated and strengthened.

In California, specifically in the wake of the Thousand Oaks bar shooting, the minimum age of which guns could be sold to was upped from 18 to 21. Another bill was passed that made it so any person with a history or record of domestic violence is barred from owning any kind of firearm.

In Illinois, the waiting period for when a person will receive a gun has jumped from 24 hours to 72 hours. This is especially important because it usually takes 3 days for petty anger to wear off, or for an argument to be worked out. This increase in waiting time can prevent future casualties.

In Oregon, a trend had been for reported abusers to not get married, and thus still be allowed to own firearms in the ‘boyfriend loophole’. The original law made it so married abusers could not own firearms, but by not being married, these abusers could still own their weapons. The new law took care of this ‘boyfriend loophole’, granting safety to many people in the state who might feel unable to leave an abusive situation.

In Washington State, the age limit for buying semi-automatic rifles increased from 18 to 21. Starting in July, the state will also pass new safety gun storage laws and background checks from law enforcement.

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the House of Representatives passed significant gun control regulations, that requires background checks on all firearm sales in the United States. Another term for this that you might be familiar with is Universal Background Checks. That’s right, it finally happened. The vote still has to move to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass, but it is a huge step in the right direction.  

One year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether the March For Our Lives movement would amount to anything. And one year later, I think I can say that it has made a very good impact. There is still a long way to go on the road of gun control in the United States, but this movement has made its case, and won’t be leaving until their demands are met.


Margo is a student at Homewood High School and a member of the Springboarders teen leadership program.

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