Editorial | The shooting at Kennywood shows how much we need gun control


Nate Guidry/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

Police and other emergency personnel from multiple jurisdictions converged on Kennywood Park late Saturday night in West Mifflin for reports of shots fired inside the amusement park.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Three people were shot in a shooting at the Kennywood amusement park last weekend. Thankfully, no one was killed — however, many called into question the security at the amusement park, which it has now upped after the shooting.

Regardless of how much security the park didn’t have or has now, the issue isn’t the amount of security — it’s the lack of gun control in this country. Shootings occur in places with a lot of security or a minimal amount, and while security does help people feel safe, none of us will truly feel safe until there is stricter legislation on who can have guns.

The gun used in the Kennywood shooting was stolen from a vehicle in Columbus, Ohio. This brings up questions about why a gun could travel over state lines that easily and whether the gun was traced. Why was it so easy to get a gun into the park in the first place? Gun control is not enforced in this country enough, and this shooting is just one of many examples of it. 

One reason why gun control is not enacted is the strength of the gun lobby in the United States. The National Rifle Association has spent nearly $3 million just on members of Congress from Pennsylvania to ensure that no laws are passed restricting the rights of gun owners. There have been 79 shootings in Pittsburgh alone in 2022 so far, and the shooting at Kennywood is definitely not the first and unfortunately will probably not be the last. 

No matter where we go, whether it’s to the amusement park, to a house of worship or to the grocery store, there is always a threat of death by gun and it shouldn’t be normalized. Kennywood and places like it shouldn’t have to worry about updating their security measures to protect people. Instead, the government should make more of an effort to curb gun violence and enact policies that make it more difficult to obtain a gun so dangerous people can not get one.

Policies such as stricter background checks and modernizing the tracking system for guns can help curb gun violence. Currently, background checks only take place when someone buys a gun from a licensed dealer. This excludes guns bought online, through gun shows or even 3D printed guns. Many of the gunmen involved in the shootings that have taken place over the last few years used this loophole to obtain a gun quickly. Additionally, guns bought from unlicensed dealers are nearly impossible to track, and the places that do track guns have highly antiquated systems

While it is a good thing that Kennywood learned from its mistakes in regards to security and has now increased it, a shooting shouldn’t have been the reason it did so. Businesses shouldn’t have to worry about having the latest security system in order for patrons to feel safe going there. Until there are stricter gun control laws in this country, nowhere will feel safe. People should not have to fear for their lives whenever they go out — we need better gun control policies.