Personal Essay: Gun Policies and Schools


Infographic by Hannah Carey

Students around the country are scared to go to school. Politicians have suggested everything from bulletproof backpacks to arming teachers. Hackley even needed police officers to patrol the campus on December 18th as shootings were threatened at schools around the area. I fear for what this means for students ranging from kindergarten to college. I fear we will have more days filled with fear and trauma.

In 2021, thirty-four separate student bodies were inflicted with pain, trauma, and loss from school shootings. Sixty-eight students either lost their lives or were severely injured. In 2022 there have already been seven school shootings. More than 3,500 teens and children are killed in shootings annually. An estimated 3 million minors witness shootings annually. Yet, the Supreme Court has taken up a case that has the potential to reverse the few gun control regulations that our country has possessed since its founding.

In 2021, the Supreme Court added New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen to its docket. The case is a challenge to a New York State Law that states that anyone who desires to hold a handgun must “show a special need for self-protection to receive an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm outside the home.”(oyez) . This case has the potential to eliminate a need for gun owners to obtain a permit, allow for universal concealed carry, eliminate gun-free zones (ie: schools, courts, churches), and allow for people with prior convictions to obtain a gun.

The oral arguments have concluded for the case, and the case will likely be decided in June.

The gravity of this case is that in a country where millions of people already feel unsafe with current gun control laws, the court may force states like New York to restrict gun control even further. I’m dumbfounded by the fact that a court of nine of the most well-educated people in this country may completely ignore evidence of specific gun control causing lower suicide and homicide rates. I fear that there will be more schools that join Oxford High School, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglass, Columbine High School, Santa Fe High School, and many more in having to learn with the lifelong trauma that a gun can elicit.

The crux of this case is the fact that current national gun regulations truly do not infringe on an individual’s ability to obtain a gun. To obtain a license in New York an individual must simply reside in the state, be older than 21, have no serious felonies, be of good moral character, and have ‘proper cause’ to obtain a gun. The court is concerned with how much the ‘proper cause’ limitation infringes on citizens’ second amendment rights; yet, that clause is imperative to ensuring someone isn’t obtaining a gun to inflict violence and danger.

I listened to many of my classmates’ fears coming to school on December 18th of 2021 as many neighboring schools were threatened with shootings. Getting an email from the Head of School, Mr. Wirtz, saying that there was a social media trend encouraging people to inflict acts of gun violence on local schools was alarming. Seeing Greenburgh police patrol campus as I walked into school was deeply concerning. And sadly, if it’s decided that gun control regulations can be overturned, these will become ‘normal’ aspects of student life.

I already fear what the decision of this case will mean for our country. I’ve changed decisions on what states I’d feel comfortable attending colleges in based on what protections the state could maintain if gun regulations become obsolete. Safety has become a major factor in my college search as I’ve seen a multitude of universities inflicted with shootings (ie: UNC, UT-Austin, Virginia Tech, UC-Santa Barabra).

While I understand the Constitutional validity behind maintaining every US Citizen’s Second Amendment right to obtain a gun, like most other Constitutional Amendments, there are, or should be, limitations on these rights to protect public safety. While everyone has freedom of speech, they can’t threaten to harm someone or publicly defame them without legal repercussions. While everyone has freedom of religion, their religious practices cannot harm others (whether that be physically or developmentally). Thus, while everyone has the right to bear arms, the government should have the right to create regulations to keep people safe.

While it is nearly impossible to prevent the court from making a ruling, I urge students who share the same fears to become involved in gun control advocacy. Sadly, this may become a much more prevalent issue in our lives. Becoming aware of possible dangers that may arise from this ruling is imperative for public safety.