Videos on gun control trend on TikTok in wake of Texas school shooting
Teachers, firearm owners and parents have taken to the video-sharing platform to give their views on a topic that has divided the United States.
Hashtags relating to the issue of gun control have been making their mark on TikTok in the wake of the Texas elementary school shooting on May 24.
Videos with the hashtag #guncontrol have garnered more than 218 million views, and others such as #guncontroldebate have also drawn tens of thousands of views.
Nineteen children and two teachers died in the shooting, one that US President Joe Biden termed a massacre. And not for the first time, an incident like this has sparked debate on gun control laws in the US.
From parents to firearm owners, TikTok users have been expressing their views on this divisive topic.
Here are some of the most-viewed videos regarding the issue of gun control legislation in the US.
LAW SCHOOL GRADUATE SHARES INSIGHTS
Harvard Law School graduate Julian Sarafian shared his insights on the intricacies of gun control laws, which are made more complicated by the federal system in the US.
“It’s very hard to regulate things state by state because there’s no clear regulatory regime to check every single vehicle that goes from one state to another. So even though states like California and Illinois have strict gun control, they still have some of the highest rates of gun violence,” said Sarafian in the video which has more than 212,000 views.
Sarafian says the only question regarding passing gun control laws is “whether the will of the people is strong enough” to pressure legislators into creating change.
“It feels very much like a virulent 10 per cent of our country is controlling this issue, whereas 90 per cent of people are on the same page that we need to do more here. But that 10 per cent is very powerful. That 10 per cent votes, that 10 per cent donates, that 10 per cent lobbies very hard,” said Sarafian.
TEACHER IN FLORIDA SHOOTING SHARES EXPERIENCE
A video made by a teacher after a high school shooting in Florida in January 2022 has also resurfaced. In the video, which has garnered more than 7.2 million views, Megan shared her experience of being in the school when the shooting happened.
“One student was shot and thousands of students spent two hours crouched in dark corners in pitch black classrooms, without any clear idea of what was happening outside, wondering if they were gonna be the next name to trend,” said the English teacher.
“And then after two hours of hiding, they confirmed that an arrest had been made but we were gonna remain in lockdown. And we sat in lockdown for another hour while cops walked up and down the halls with huge guns, searching students in classrooms to make sure there were no more weapons in school.”
The teacher, who sobbed while speaking, ended the video on a despondent note.
“And tomorrow, tomorrow it’s gonna be business as usual. There will be grief counsellors but change won't be made. Students will be expected to keep working, keep learning, like a classmate wasn’t just shot, (at the place) where they’re supposed to get their education.”
PARENTS SPREAD AWARENESS
Some parents are also encouraging others to raise awareness among children. In a video approaching almost 200,000 views, a mother asks her daughter about gun ownership. “I don’t think parents should have guns anymore, because they don’t know whether the kid is gonna steal it or not,” said the girl.
Commenters have chimed in. “It’s so sad that kids are having to think about guns and what will happen to them if they’re in a situation where they might face one,” read one comment.
There were remarks as well from the pro-gun camp, ranging from "Good to own for self-defence" to “Not everyone who owns (a gun) is a bad person or irresponsible”.
Stand-up comedian Michael Shafar made a satire video in response to US Senator Ted Cruz, who suggested having just one door in each school is a way to stop shootings.
In the video that has drawn more than 1.3 million views so far, Shafar said: “The problem with America is not too many guns, it’s too many doors. What they need is background checks on anyone who wants to use a door, they’ve got to get illegal doors off the streets and they have to ban high-powered doors like revolving and automatic ones.”
His tongue-in-cheek video elicited comments such as: “Wait, so every other country on the planet has schools with only 1 door? That's their secret?!”.
COMPARISONS DRAWN BETWEEN COUNTRIES
A video by Scottish filmmaker Francis Maxwell went viral for highlighting the different approach the US and the UK have taken in response to school shootings.
“I was about five years old and I remember a gunman entered the Dunblane Primary School and he killed 16 students and a teacher. Within two weeks, the UK government got together and they enacted strict gun laws,” said Maxwell in the video that has more than 893,000 views.
“In the 26 years since they enacted those strict gun laws, how many school shootings do you think Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole have had? Zero,” added Maxwell.