St. Louis School Suffers Shooting, Advocates Push For More Federal Change
Olivia Allery, news editor
CW: gun violence
Flowers and candles hold a place of memorial at the gates entering Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) in St. Louis, MO, remembering the two victims who passed away on Monday, Oct. 24 due to another fatal school shooting. Honored at the memorial was student Alexzandria Bell, teacher Jean Kuczka, and seven other students who were wounded were also being recognized. Former student Orlando Harris, who had just graduated from CVPA in May, opened fire that Monday morning.
Harris forced his way into the school carrying an AR-15 assault weapon along with around a dozen magazines, each filled with 30 rounds of ammunition. It was later discovered when searching his car, that Harris had been making this plan for weeks, laying out all his intentions in a notebook he had left behind. According to St. Louis Today, the notebook contained a list of all the students the shooter had planned to target that day, personal reflections of his mental health status and feelings of hopelessness, and a desire to be the deadliest school shooter in U.S. history.
Harris’s family relayed the time leading up to the shooting, knowing he was not doing well. The family had called the police to remove the same AR-15 from their home on Oct. 15, just nine days before the shooting took place. The police concluded that Harris was in lawful possession of the firearm but still confiscated the assault weapon. A third party found by the family was contacted and took possession of the firearm. Police are still unaware of how Harris got the firearm back after it was confiscated.
According to CNN, after the firearm was confiscated, his family tried to help Harris by sending him to a mental health treatment and making sure he was still engaging with people close to him, but it seems as though the family was too late.
After finding this out many are asking state and federal politicians to make stricter gun laws to prevent another tragedy like CVPA from happening. One of the main criticisms from advocates is that President Biden’s 13-billion-dollar federal gun safety package to increase red flag notices on assault weapons clearly did not go far enough. The state of Missouri still has the least restrictive gun laws in the country. Any person above the age of 19 can legally purchase a conceal or open carry gun with no permit required or even a background check. Missouri also has no license or record-keeping requirement for gun ammunition or its sales.
On Oct. 24, the White House held a press conference to address the public following the horrible event. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated “Every day that the Senate fails to send an assault weapons ban to the President’s desk or waits to take another — other common-sense actions is a day too late for our families and communities impacted by gun violence.” With another fatal school shooting taking place only months after the tragic deaths of 21 students and teachers in Uvalde, TX, advocacy for more gun safety laws is becoming more prevalent.