How the Columbine High School Shooting Affected Gun Control

The Columbine High School Massacre was a high school shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The perpetrators were two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who planned on attacking their school on April 19, the day before, but failed to do so because they were still collecting all their supplies for the attack. The morning of the shooting, both seniors went bowling and ditched class. Around 11:08 am, they drove separate cars to the high school loaded with guns and bombs and were ready to attack. The two planned to guard two main exits of the school because they planted bombs inside the school that were supposed to go off at about 11:15 am, but they failed to do so, so at around 11:19, the two entered the school with their guns and began firing at students and teachers. The massacre lasted from 11:19 am to 12:08 pm. There was a total count of 15 deaths, including the two perpetrators, who shot themselves at the end of the massacre and a total count of 21 injuries.

This massacre sparked great controversial debates over gun control laws and restrictions. Although the debates were mostly on gun control, much discussion also centered on the nature of high school bullying and the influence of violent movies and video games in society. Overall, this shooting resulted in calls for more control. In 2000, federal and state legislation was introduced that would require safety locks on firearms as well as ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Laws were also passed that made it a crime to buy guns for criminals or minors and there was concern amongst the gun lobby over further restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the US. Many of these laws were inspired and discussed in Michael Moore’s film “Bowling for Columbine.”

Another incident that recently occurred in Aurora, Colorado, was a shooting at a movie theater at the midnight screening of the new “The Dark Night Rises” film. A man named James Holmes, bought a movie ticket for the movie, sat and watched about half the movie, then walked outside an emergency exit to his car, where he then loaded his guns with ammunition and put on a bulletproof vest and mask to protect his face. He then walked back into the theater, set off tear gas into the audience, and began to shoot. This man shot 70 people in the movie theater and killed 12 people. This also brought up many discussions and debates over gun control laws and restriction, 13 years after the Columbine Massacre.