Former President Barack Obama issued a statement after 17 people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in a mass shooting at a Florida high school, saying that we “are not powerless.”
On Wednesday, Nikolas Cruz, 19, set off the fire alarm before he started shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz terrorized the school with an AR-15 style rifle for more than an hour before being apprehended. All of the victims have been identified, but names are slowly being released to the public as the victims’ families are notified.
Following the shooting, former President Obama took to Twitter, calling for “long overdue, common sense gun safety laws.”
“We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change,” he tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Obama didn’t elaborate on what type of common sense gun laws he thinks should be enacted, but in the months before he left office, a regulation was put in place that added “people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affair” to the national background database, according to NBC News. However, in February 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill that rolled back the regulation.
In June 2017, a Quinnipiac poll revealed that 94 percent of individuals surveyed supported requiring background checks for all gun buyers, but according to the Associated Press, Cruz purchased the gun legally at a Broward County gun store.
Florida runs an instant background check on those purchasing guns, but he would have been able to easily pass the check because he had no criminal background. The check would not have picked up on his long history of being treated for mental illness.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said during a press conference Thursday that he would discuss increasing funding for mental illness services and keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill with the Florida Legislator next week.
“If somebody is mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Scott said.