Last week, Cornell narrowly escaped becoming the latest entry in a list on which no school wants to appear. After a timely tip from Walmart, Ithaca police and the FBI were able to seize weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials from a former student’s Collegetown apartment, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
Cornell is lucky, but that a very flawed system worked this one time is not a consolation, nor should it be used as evidence that America’s gun problem is anything less than incredibly dire.
It is not right for a 20-year-old to be able to obtain an assault rifle, significant amounts of ammunition, tactical gear and bomb-making materials — all of which amount to what IPD called a “specific recipe for large scale destruction.” It is not right that the only thing illegal about Reynolds’ possession of that rifle was that he obtained it through a so-called “straw purchase,” wherein he paid another man to buy it for him. We must consider whether anyone, regardless of method of purchase, should be able to hoard such weapons.
And it is not right that this news, while unsettling and frightening to all those affected, is so incredibly unsurprising. After Parkland, after Las Vegas, after Sutherland Springs and Orlando and Sandy Hook, no one should be surprised by the next tragedy.
In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, teenagers from across the country have taken to the streets to demand stricter gun control. The Reynolds case only continues to prove their point, and perhaps now that this issue has touched his own constituents, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) will reconsider his stance on an assault weapons ban, and will put forward more than words when it comes to strengthening background checks.