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Opinions: Staff editorial: Listen up, legislators

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Grace+Eickel+and+Sophana+Holdegraver+%2812%29+hold+up+signs+during+the+EHS+walkout%2C+April+20.+
Grace Eickel and Sophana Holdegraver (12) hold up signs during the EHS walkout, April 20.

Grace Eickel and Sophana Holdegraver (12) hold up signs during the EHS walkout, April 20.

Regan Peterson

Grace Eickel and Sophana Holdegraver (12) hold up signs during the EHS walkout, April 20.

Bringing attention to the gun violence in schools

 

“Thoughts and prayers aren’t bulletproof.”

“Fix this before I text my mom from under a desk.”

“The only thing we should be scared of at school are tests.”
 
Individuals held up signs with these phrases when 119 EHS students marched out of the school in protest, April 20.

The walkout protested gun violence, particularly within schools. The National Walkout coincided with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

Unfortunately, it appears as thought the United States is making less progress as the issue continually gets worse. The list of school shootings gets longer day by day, with already 16 reported school shooting since Jan. 1.

Nineteen years is too long of a time for people to take a stand against weapons inside schools.

Nearly 20 years after the first notable school shooting, the numbers of school shootings should have gone down. Instead, these numbers have stayed pretty steady with an average of 10 school shootings a year.

Thirteen students died at Columbine. Seventeen died in Parkland. We live in a country where the record of those killed in a school is set higher each year.

Rather than act, people have spent the last 19 years devastated, blaming the shootings on mental health, the government, pop culture or the shooter.

Little attention has been paid to how the shootings occurred, as in how the shooter obtained their weapons, how they gave off warning signs and how they managed to enter a school and ultimately murder children and staff.

Finally, students have taken a stand against the issue, bringing attention to the lack of legislation and prevention of school shootings through events such as walkouts and the March For Our Lives, March 24.

Students are the ones who will make the necessary changes. We are the ones who will make laws and who will stop the growing gun violence.

Why?

Because we are the same ones who grow up going to school with the fear of not coming home, the same ones who turn on the news and regularly see that a gunman entered a school.

We are the generation where school shootings are a normality, where the safe place known as school becomes a violent battleground.

The idea that politicians and legislators will make the changes needed is a misconception. The National Rifle Association contributes funds to hundreds of lawmakers across the country.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt has collected over $4.5 million from the NRA. Reports from OpenSecrets show that the NRA spent $11,438,118 in support of Trump’s Presidential Campaign and $19,756,346 against Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  

OpenSecrets is the Center for Responsive Politics’ website. The organization is an independent nonprofit that aims to gather unbiased data about the role of money in politics. Two former senators founded the Center for Responsive Politics.

The cycle of the NRA funding politicians is endless. As the politicians receive more and more money from the NRA, the politicians are expected to protect the Second Amendment.

Yes, the Second Amendment grants the right to bear arms. Constitutionally, everyone has the right to own a gun.

If a person owns a gun or simply enjoys guns, it does not mean that they are a school shooter. Most gun fanatics do not plan to shoot up their school.

Still, it is important to remember that the Founding Fathers wrote this right in 1791, nearly 230 years ago.

Since then, automatic weapons that can fire up to 600 rounds a minute have been invented, quite the upgrade from the 1791 musket that could shoot up to three times a minute.

Clearly, the damage that can be done has significantly increased.

The issue of gun violence is not about being either pro-gun or anti-gun. At this point, gun violence and the protests surrounding it are about simply not wanting to get shot at school or even in public for that matter.

The walkout was only the beginning of the actions that must be taken to stop the violence.

Students and even staff need to contact legislators, draw attention to the issue and show that this is a human life issue that affects all of us by continuing to voice their opinion and present that data on gun violence.

Additionally, students who are at least 17 and a half years of age can register to vote in order to vote politicians who will make changes into office.

Schools have become a shooting range and this must change. Students and staff are encouraged to voice their opinions in the ongoing dispute by protesting, voting and bringing lawmakers’ attention to the issue.

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