“Today is the day,” said Nikolas Cruz in a video posted by the Sun-Sentinel. Later on that day, he would massacre 17 lives.
There is an issue in America that unsuitable people are purchasing guns and using them wrongfully. Though there was a false alarm of a gunman on campus last week, there have been 46 shootings already as of this year records the Gun Violence Archive.
The Washington Post shows a timeline of Cruz’s life leading up to the shooting, including the date he legally obtained his gun.
Cruz had bought an AR-15 about a year before the shooting In an article by USA Today, Cruz was at the legal age then to purchase the semi-automatic weapon and passed the FBI’s criminal database from having no criminal record. Though Cruz was able to buy the gun there were plenty of warning signs that Cruz was not stable enough to safely possess a gun.
He was reported for multiple assaults and acts of violence both at home and at his numerous schools he had been transferred to, including Stoneman Douglas. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office received calls when Cruz had posted a photo of his guns with a caption that suggested he planned to commit a school shooting. It is difficult to tell if a person is capable to commit such dreadful acts when letting one purchase a gun at the gun range. Cruz’s assaults and threatening post are not apart of the background check, he was able to bypass around what is asked when purchasing a gun. Since then, It has had the country questioning as to whether stricter gun laws are in need or not.
“Stricter gun laws don’t guarantee anything,” says Professor David Adey of Art and Design at Point Loma Nazarene University. “Smarter laws are what we need.”
Christian Aguayo, vice president of the Young Americans for Freedom at PLNU, says that mental health and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) are areas our country can look more into when stopping those like Cruz from purchasing their guns. “It mandates that federal agencies input criminal data into the national instant criminal background check system.” It is important to note that any violent misdemeanors or felonies are documented in the NICS system, which Cruz had never been documented for.
Cruz had struggled with mental health. The Washington Post recounts that Cruz was diagnosed as developmentally delayed in his youth, he had self-harmed, failed suicide attempts, including suffering from depression during high school.
“There is no psychological or psychiatric evaluation for purchasing any firearm, at all,” says Jason Stevens, the sales manager at The Gun Range San Diego. Dylann Roof who committed the Charleston Church massacre, James Holmes that committed the Aurora shooting and Cho Seung-Hui who committed the Virginia Tech shooting are people Stevens firmly believes that if there had been a form of psychological evaluation by a qualified mental health professional at the time these murderers were obtaining their firearms, then it is very possible that these shootings could have been prevented.
“Not everybody is like this,” Stevens says when speaking of the gun community. Not everyone is a Stephen Paddock, an Adam Lanza, Omar Mateen or a Nicholas Cruz. By looking out for the next Cruz, we can check up on our friends and family who do own guns to make sure they are mentally “okay” while still possessing their guns. Movements such as the March for Our Lives continues to fight for gun reform that students on the PLNU campus can participate by walking at rallies in San Diego are some ways to help when believing in gun control.