On Thursday March 15, students from high schools and colleges nationwide arranged a walkout in protest of the lack of stricter gun regulations. I participated in at my school because I believe that we need to enact more stringent gun regulations because our current policies are failing. There should not be this many mass shootings, and children should not be dying from gun violence. In the United States, we have had more mass shooters than any other country. Thoughts and prayers for the victims are not going to make that number go down; policy changes will. I support students walking out of their classrooms because they realize that their lives and their education are more important than someone’s second amendment rights.
Whenever the gun control debate comes up after a mass shooting, we are always told not to get political and that we should only offer thoughts and prayers as a sign of respect for the victims. No, policy changes that make it harder for anyone to obtain a gun in the United States is the ultimate sign of respect for the victims. Policy changes show that we respect the victims enough that we do not want to create more. I think the most tragic shootings are the ones that happen at schools such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Stoneman Douglas because these children were at school to get an education and their lives were cut short. We have our priorities backward because we should value a child’s education and life above the ability to easily get a gun. Arming teachers is not the solution because it only creates an environment where students feel unsafe and the teachers may not be able to handle the responsibility of carrying a gun. When your second amendment rights start to interfere with an individual’s right to life we must do something.
Gun control needs to happen, and gun control measures have been useful in countries such as Japan and Australia. Additionally, we need to start changing our mindset about what it means to be an American citizen and what it means to be a man in American society. In our country, guns are tied to being a proud American. However, this cultural mindset has become toxic because we ignore those who lost their lives in mass shootings. We need to stop equating caring about the lives of others with being a bad American. You are an evil American if you choose to ignore how exercising the second amendment affects other people. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in 1789, and our world has changed drastically since then. Since our world has changed drastically, we need to start viewing owning a gun as a privilege, not a right because we have normalized gun violence for too long.
I am glad to see students walk out of their classrooms and stand up not only for their rights but also stand up for what they believe. To those administrators who attempted to prevent students from doing so, shame on you because your students have the right to peaceful protest. Do not stop them from doing so because you disagree with their political beliefs, instead encourage them to protest because they need to be able to advocate for themselves throughout their lives.