When a second grader proposes a plan of action to keep students safe from guns before lawmakers, that’s a problem.

According to the Chicago Tribune, first-grader Ava Olsen went to recess one September afternoon in 2016 and left with PTSD.

Now home-schooled, Olsen wrote President Donald Trump a letter asking him to keep kids safe from guns after a school shooter took away the boy she was going to marry one day. When Trump responded without his own plan of action, Olsen provided him with one of her own in her response on Jan. 8.

Olsen is just one of the more than 150,000 students who have experienced school shootings on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999, according to the Tribune.

School shootings have continued to be an issue in 2018; there were 18 in just the first 45 days of the year, according to CNBC. The most recent was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which resulted in 17 people dying on Valentine’s Day.

How much bloodshed must occur for Americans to act on the growing issue of school shootings?

With the Stoneman shooting, the response is starting to change. Instead of going into silent mourning, Parkland victims are addressing gun control issues at rallies and calling for a march on Washington on March 24. They are demanding stricter gun control laws with the goal of making Parkland the last mass school shooting, according to MSN.

Parkland student Emma Gonzalez points out that other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have all introduced stricter gun laws after massacres like this and haven’t had more than five school shootings since implementing them. The United States has already long surpassed that this year alone and is doing nothing.

In fact, on Feb. 20 Florida lawmakers, who opened the session with a prayer to the 17 people killed at Parkland, rejected a motion to ban semi-automatic guns and large capacity magazines in front of dozens of Parkland survivors, according to CNN.

Are the lives of your friends, family, and children really worth the loose gun control laws?

The current generation doesn’t seem to think so. Students across the country are planning to walk out of classes at 10 a.m. on March 14 for 17 minutes to continue drawing awareness to the issue. There will be another walk out on April 20 to acknowledge the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, according to The Daily Gazette.

The students know it’s time for a change when their safe place for living, learning, and working toward their dreams has turned into a place of violence, fear, and death for defenseless targets of gun violence.

One way to start the change is gun access. According to texasgunlaws.org, in Texas all a person needs to purchase a gun is a Texas state ID; there is no waiting period. There is no limit on how much ammunition a person can buy, no ban on semi-automatic weapons, and there is no state registration of firearms brought in to Texas from a different state or inherited.

Essentially, it’s really easy to get a gun in Texas. If this changes, it could prevent more school shootings.

For example, according to gunpolicy.org, in Japan, gun owners are required to state a reason for possessing a firearm; have their criminal, mental health, and addiction records checked; undergo firearm safety training; and then must reapply and requalify for their firearms license every three years. As a result of this policy, Japan rarely has more than 10 gun deaths a year, according to Business Insider.

America could take a page from some of these regulations because they have the potential to decrease not only school shooting events but also gun deaths in general.

Another possible solution for school shootings could be what the Argyle Independent School District does. A select few teachers undergo training and have a concealed weapon on their person. The identities of these teachers are unknown to everyone but the principal, the superintendent, and the police chief, and the school has warning signs out front, according to Fox 4 News.

The signs that teachers are armed could deter shooters from entering since students wouldn’t be sitting ducks. However, this is probably not the solution for everyone.

Training and buying the weapons could be expensive. According to Time magazine, in 2015 teachers in one in 10 schools spent more than $1,000 on school supplies. With some schools not even having the funds for supplies, adding in the cost of guns wouldn’t work for everyone.

At this point it doesn’t matter what area of the political spectrum you’re on or what your opinion on guns is. It’s time to act on the issue of gun violence in schools because action has been long overdue. Americans need to quit pushing the issue aside because the students are ready to act before the lives of the next generation become unsalvageable.

After the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass high school, protests broke out after Florida after lawmakers refused to act. Cartoon by Hannah Onder

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