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In the wake of a series of school shootings, the most recent in Texas, ways to prevent future school shootings has been a topic among the populous.
In an informal survey on Wednesday in downtown Phoenix, about 90 percent of participants said that they generally favor tighter gun control and 100 percent of participants said that there needs to be better mental health care.
Michael Jackson, a 68 year-old architect, said that there is no one answer to solve this problem. He believes that controlling who has firearms while improving mental health care will be the most beneficial, but feels that there needs to be drills to prepare students as well. As a father of six boys, with one still in high school at Brophy College Prepatory, he said every day he fears for his son. Earlier this year he said that there was a lockdown due to a rumor of a gun on campus, and his son was texting him saying that he did not know what to do or where to go. Luckily his son was safe, but he feels that, “as sad at it is, drills for school shootings is something that needs to be implemented.”
Taylor Elliot, a full-time student at Arizona State University, said that media streaming of school shootings “is not bringing the correct awareness, I would say it’s inspiring the wrong people. Instead of preventing it it’s making people want to be like them [the shooters].” She said there needs to be more education on gun safety and laws in schools, because many kids and adults do not know how to properly use a gun, what licensing you need to be able to operate a gun, or know the actual impact that a gun can have until it is too late. She also said that classrooms need to be better equipped for shootings. She notes that most elementary and middle school doors do not lock, and almost no schools have bulletproof doors or windows.
41-year-old full-time father of three, Elbert Freeman Junior, said that preventing school shootings “starts from within, you need to keep the students happy.” As a father, he feels that privatizing schools is the best way to prevent future shootings as without privatization the temptation of joining gangs is more apparent.
Shannon Norton, a 44-year-old mother and executive director of a career center in Massachusetts who is visiting downtown Phoenix for a conference, said that there needs to be better background screenings and that there needs to be a ban on assault rifles. She said that it seems to her that most of these shootings are caused by troubled young men, so more mental health screenings in schools and more checks into the home life of students could be beneficial. “Luckily,” she says, “Massachusetts has stricter gun laws, so I feel safer sending my son to school, but there will always be a little bit of fear.”
Subway sandwich artist, 21-year-old Taylor Stern, said that there simply needs to be more gun control with more background checks. He said that mental health plays a big part, because, “if you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t want other people to feel good about themselves.
Rhonda Weaver, a 46-year-old program manager for a homeless and veteran health program, says that there needs to be a better mental health treatment program. When asked if she favors gun control, she said that gun control does not make a difference because even with gun laws, criminals will find a gun because the will not follow the law anyway.
Arizona State University nursing students, Kylie Sarlatte, Ana Samuels, Taylor Hopper, and Jackie Orona, all generally favor tighter gun control and believe that there needs to be a bigger screening process as well as a mental health screening. Ana Samuels believes that there needs to be a specific policy in schools on what to do if a shooting were to happen and shooting drills. “You have fire drills and drills on how to exit the school bus, so why not do drills for something like this?”
A state government employee who prefers to remain anonymous says that there simply needs to be more gun control laws and more mental health awareness.