POLITICS

Parkland Father Calls Bump Stock Ban A 'Small Band-Aid On A Gaping Wound'

Jeff Kasky, whose son survived the high school shooting, wants “reasonable safety controls” on “these weapons of war."

A little more than one year after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the father of a survivor is demanding more federal response than a mere ban on bump stocks.

Jeff Kasky, whose activist son Cameron attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, said that he supports President Donald Trump’s move to make it illegal to sell or own a bump stock, which can be added to a semiautomatic weapon to increase the speed at which it fires.

“I certainly agree that they should be banned,” Kasky told CNN on Tuesday as the change took effect. “They very simply take what’s an extraordinarily dangerous and unnecessary weapon and make it even more so.”

But he added, “Please don’t get confused and think that banning bump stocks solves anything more than just a very, very small Band-aid on a gaping wound.”

Kasky serves as president of the Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC, which was formed to push for gun law reform in the wake of the Parkland massacre.

Even so-called red flag laws, which allow weapons to be confiscated from individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, fail to address the heart of the issue, Kasky argued. 

“How about keep [guns] out of his hand in the first place?” Kasky said. “How about there should be some qualifications for actually having to purchase a gun ― particularly the assault weapons?”

He said he just wants “reasonable safety controls on who’s walking around with these weapons of war.”

The Parkland community has continued to struggle with the trauma left by gun violence. The family of survivor Sydney Aiello confirmed that she died by suicide earlier this month after experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. On Sunday, police confirmed that a second Parkland student appeared to have died by suicide.

Chief Justice John Roberts refused to grant gun ownership advocacy groups a temporary stay on the bump stock ban on Tuesday, allowing it to go into effect. The gun groups said the ban will force Americans who have bump stocks to destroy them or turn them into law enforcement. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is still weighing a separate stay request, ABC News reported.

Despite the gun lobby’s efforts to stymie reform, Kasky told CNN he feels assured knowing that time is on the side of young activists.

“The teenagers are going to be around a lot longer than [National Rifle Association chief executive] Wayne LaPierre is going to be around,” he said.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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