As published in The Christian Post:

Seventeen children were fatally shot and at least 15 were wounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida. What should have been another typical school day turned into a tragedy that has traumatized an entire community and stunned our nation.

Over my nearly 40 years as a Christian minister, I’ve consoled many people who have been the victims of tragedy, but none as tortured, as anguished, as crushed as parents of a child who has died. Add the horror of knowing your baby’s life was cut short by senseless gun violence and the pain is unfathomable.

We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized and normalize language that refers to the murder of school children as “just another mass shooting”. No other developed nation in the world subjects their children to this kind of violence.

When children wake up in the morning, they should only worry about homework or a test, not whether they will be killed in a hail of gunfire. Parents should only be concerned if their kids will make the bus, play it safe in gym or avoid getting in trouble. No parent should worry that a gun battle will break out or that they’ll be met at the end of the school day at the emergency room by a grim-faced chaplain.

There are some who believe the solution to this uniquely American problem is guns in more places, but that is simply not the case. If this were truly the cure-all, America would be the safest place on earth. It is not. Our lax gun laws have set us up to be a nation in which our children have been taught to run, duck and run for cover to avoid gun violence that is, in fact, preventable.

Is this the world we want our children to inhabit? A world where teachers, administrators and volunteers must double as armed security in our schools? This travesty must stop—and stop immediately.

Kids are not bringing hand grenades to school—or sticks of dynamite—or even fertilizer bombs because we have decided as a society to treat those dangerous items with care. It’s often a gun in a home irresponsibly stored that makes its way into the hands of a child or a troubled family member.

Yet, we not only make lethal firearms readily available to anyone who wants them for any reason, but the NRA and others—especially the manufacturers that get wealthier every time children are killed—keep pushing for firearms to be accessible for anyone, at anytime — no questions asked.

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