Pressure NYS to Enforce Stricter Gun Laws!

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My name is Abigail Fitzsimmons. I am currently a senior at Valley Stream North High School. In light of recent events, the topic of gun control has been reignited throughout country. I stand with peers across the country to urge for stricter gun regulations. I’d like to ask for your support.

As you may be well aware, the weapon used in the shooting of seventeen innocent faculty and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was an AR-15, more commonly recognized as an assault rifle. To provide some background, this weapon is a semi-automatic rifle designed to model the M16, a rifle commonly used in the United States military. In essence, there is no need for a civilian to own a weapon of such gravity and potential destruction. Interestingly enough, New York State, with the exception of New York City, has feeble laws put in place restricting one’s ability to own a rifle or shotgun. Whereas one is required to own a permit to purchase and carry a handgun, register it with the state, and obtain a license to own it, there are no such laws regarding rifles or shotguns. However, seven of the top ten deadliest school shootings in the nation’s history were committed through the use of such weapons. Since 1982, over forty percent of the country’s school shootings have been done by use of shotguns and rifles. In addition, eight of the nation’s top ten deadliest mass shootings were done by use of such weapons. The obvious point I’m trying to drive home is that these weapons are capable of such extreme terror and destruction. There is absolutely no plausible reason to leave them to be so easily obtainable. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, killed seventeen people with such a weapon. Nikolas Cruz was nineteen years old, with a history of mental health treatment. Yet he was still able to walk into a gun supply store and purchase an assault rifle. Many of his victims were children, the majority of them younger than myself. I recently turned eighteen. The idea that I can walk into any firearms shop and purchase an assault rifle is ludicrous to me. What on earth would I, or any of my peers for that matter, need an assault rifle for? I’m not even old enough to drink a beer. Even if I did need one, shouldn’t it be a bit more difficult for me to purchase than, say, a pack of cigarettes? The one piece of legislation that has been passed is known as the NY SAFE (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act. This act was meant to require background checks that prevent those with a criminal background or history of "dangerous mental illness" from acquiring a gun. However, the act has been difficult to implement and even more difficult to enforce. I’d like to petition the New York State government to tighten their laws regarding firearms. I am calling for increased age requirements to own a shotgun or rifle. I am calling for laws equivalent to those regarding the possession of a handgun. I am calling for stricter background checks to obtain ANY type of firearm. We read about these shootings and don’t really entertain the idea that it could just as easily happen to any of us—but it can. By taking these preventative measures, we cannot ensure that a tragedy such as this will not happen, but we can certainly decrease the likelihood.

By garnering your support, you will help me prove to Gov. Cuomo and his constituents that these are necessary steps we as not only a state, but as a nation must take. Let New York State set a precedent for the rest of the country. Be a part of the change. These tragedies cannot occur anymore. Thank you for all of your time.

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