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Bruins aim for change to gun laws

Senior Bella Batula rallies students at the National School Walkout. Photo by Morgan Ham

“Sending condolences,” “thoughts and prayers,” “our thoughts are with you,” are all things politicians have said after the 14 school shootings since January 1, 2018. According to CNN, there are an average of 1.5 school shootings a week.

The time for thoughts and prayers is long gone. Action needs to be taken, and change needs to occur. After the recent Parkland Shooting, some Bruins said that they think change is needed within gun laws and legislation.

“After all the various mass shootings that seem to be happening quite regularly in America, there is a continued call for some sort of action to try to, at the very least, to lessen the school shootings or lessen the mass shootings,” Social Studies Teacher Jeffrey Carrow said.

The influx of school shootings has left Bruins with feelings of sadness and horror. Shooting threats can leave students terrified to come to school.

“I’m deeply saddened and I’m hurt and I am angered by the (recent mass school shootings),” said Mr. Carrow.  

Sophomore Scout Pettitt’s thoughts mirrored Mr. Carrow’s.

“The recent school shootings … they’re horrible,” said Pettitt.

Tragic events like this have become so frequent, some Bruins said that they aren’t surprised anymore.

“It’s kind of upsetting but I am not surprised, and that’s a sad thing,” said Sophomore Catherine Desplancke. “We’ve had so many school shootings in just this year alone. There should be something done, what are they waiting for, more children to die?”

Many Bruins believe school should be a safe place, a place where everyone can come to learn, no matter who they are.

“School should be the one place where children of all ages, all ethnicity, and all genders should all feel safe and that school should be a place of just learning,” said Freshman Helen Sands.

How can we make our school feel safer and our students safe?

“I absolutely think that there should be more precautions and drills,” said Josie Andrews, Bear River’s librarian. “I think we’ve had one this year. Nobody knows what to do if something happens, and I think that policy needs to be really, really clear. Students don’t know what to do in the case of emergency, that was made clear in recent events.”

Teenagers are standing up and not taking no for an answer — they demand change to gun laws.

“It’s important that students have a voice in their own safety and I think, a lot of the time, because students are in a school setting, that their voices are often shut down or overruled or overturned,” said Mrs. Andrews.

On March 14, 2018, all across the nation, teachers, faculty, and students will be walking out of schools to show their support for the victims of the Parkland Shooting and for some, to tell politicians that they need to take action. You can show your support by making signs, wearing black, and participating in the walkout. The national walkout will take place at 10 a.m. It will last for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost in the Parkland shooting.

Some of the Bear River staff believes this movement could change our nation.

“Given the action of many of the students from the all the high schools, there’s a possibility that some movement (could occur) toward gun control legislation,” said Mr. Carrow. “If people feel passionate, they should speak out and take action for what they believe in.”

“I think that if people feel strongly about this then they should really participate in a nationwide statement,” said Mrs. Andrews.

Many students and teachers alike plan to participate.

“I’m pretty positive I want to be participating because I’m happy to be living through all of this right now,” said Freshman Mateo Batula. “To be able to see how people my age are stepping up finally and getting their names out there and being able to take action for what they believe in and being part of that is going to help.”

Sands thought that this use of our First Amendment will be a positive movement towards change.

“It’s a peaceful protest and a lot of the time, peaceful protests get more validation and are more widely known and make more of a difference than non-peaceful protests,” said Sands.

Some pose the question of what changes we want.

“Things that we are looking at as participants are what exactly is our agenda,” said Mrs. Andrews. “Like, what kind of changes do we want to see?”

Bruins have ideas of what should change.

“We shouldn’t be letting children buy guns,” said Pettitt. “I believe you should be 21 to actually purchase a gun and they should do a background check of criminal history.”

Batula agreed with Pettitt’s stance to change the gun age.

“I think that with gun control, we need more laws and restrictions enforced around people my age and people even older than me to not be able to buy certain types of guns,” said Batula. “Not all of them, but high magazine types definitely shouldn’t be allowed.”

Some believe it shouldn’t be all guns banned, but just the assault and high capacity ones.

“I’m certainly in favor of gun control and more restrictions, specifically on high magazine guns, semi-automatic and automatic weapons like the AR-15,” said Mr. Carrow. “I am in favor of eliminating those and making those illegal to even produce.”

Other Bruins believe that guns cannot be gotten rid of because they play such a big role in our society.

“If people need to protect themselves, then they should have guns,” said Sophomore Caden Corkery. “From the beginning of time, people have used weapons to protect themselves from other people. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Some believe this issue shouldn’t exist.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we have this hanging over our heads as students and teachers and I think it’s about time that we make some noise about it,” said English Teacher Sara Noah.

An ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.    

“It’s also the peoples’ fault for not looking at the signs people give out,” said Pettitt. “Those who plan things like that always send signs. Schools need to teach kids to be wary of certain signs like that. Kids who do that almost always want to be stopped, subconsciously. We need to pay closer attention to those around us. It is important because as we can see, these shootings are getting more and more frequent. We need to be able to do something to stop these people from committing such horrendous crimes. Is it really the guns fault or is it the person’s? People seem to think that the issue is just the guns. It’s the fact that mental health is not taken care of.”

Something needs to happen and things need to change. We shouldn’t be prioritizing guns over kids’ lives. How many more lives have to be lost before action is taken?

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Bruins aim for change to gun laws