By Potoula Anagnostakos
It’s been almost a year since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire on the school’s students and faculty, taking the lives of 20 children and six staff members. As police and first responders arrived, Lanza took his own life before they could arrest him. Lanza was in possession of two firearms at the time of the shooting.
As we look back and remember that tragic day, questions arise: What could have been done
to prevent the Sandy Hook shooting, and what can be done to prevent another school shooting? Should there be stricter laws in terms of firearms? “As a future teacher, Sandy Hook was devastating. Something like that could happen anywhere, and it makes me think what I would do in that situation. Unfortunately, I don’t think gun laws would help. I think security would be the best bet. Drugs are illegal, and they are still pretty accessible. I think gun laws would be the same,” said Melanie Van Voorhees, a junior Education major.
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, legislation has attempted to tighten gun control. For example, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013, which tightens the state’s assault weapons ban, limits gun magazine capacity, requires background checks for gun and ammunition sales, toughens penalties for illegal gun use, and exempts gun permit data from public records requests. In Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed a bipartisan gun control bill limiting gun magazine size. Also, the bill requires background checks for all gun purchases and expands the definition of
an assault weapon. On a national level, President Obama signed 23 executive orders created to reduce gun violence.
Actions have also been taken to ensure students’ and staff’s safety at school. To set an example, schools in the Chicago area have taken newer safety precautions. Security in Dirksen Middle School has increased in Calumet City, Illinois and metal detectors were installed. In Niles, there was an increase of police patrols around schools throughout the town.
In Glen Cove, safety precautions were also taken after Sandy Hook. “When I did my student teaching at Glen Cove, sheltering drills became very important. In taking extra precaution, the school had all of its teachers keep their doors locked at all times, whether in or out of the classroom,” said Kristy Niemeyer, LIU Post graduate and Education major. “My cooperating teacher told me that they started this security policy due to Sandy Hook and also Virginia Tech. Also, when you entered the school, you had to check in and you had to be granted access to enter both the school and the classrooms. This is to ensure that no intruders could set foot in the school,” Niemeyer added.
With those precautions taken so far, less gun violence in schools has become an important topic. Hopefully with these gun control laws in place, schools will be safer. Students and staff should not have to be afraid to attend classes.
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