The Wildcat Roar

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Why I Won’t be Walking Out

The complexity of the issue demands more.

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The recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has sparked protests and calls for lawmakers to make significant changes. Demonstrations have been happening around the country and are expected to continue to happen at schools, even Westminster. Although Westminster set aside a time for prayer, protests are likely still going to occur at other schools as well as ours.

While I obviously do not have an issue with preventing school shootings or saving lives, it becomes an issue of how to accomplish these things. This is the issue I don’t believe these protests are addressing correctly or even at all. Many of the demonstrations lack a tangible legislative goal, quickly devolving into angry people screaming “do something!” at lawmakers and the president. They assume the president and high up politicians can say the word and things will change. Asking the government to simply do something regardless of what it is isn’t helpful. In fact, it would most likely prove detrimental considering how complex of an issue gun violence is. Although it is true that the people should implore their representatives to alter or introduce new legislation, people, unfortunately, need to understand that changing legislation is a group endeavor among lawmakers, not just the responsibility of President Trump or any specific politician.

Despite the fact that certain national marches fail to provide clear goals, others have called for gun reform as the answer. Anu Akinyede, a sophomore at Westminster, has put together an organization, Students Demand Action STL, to address the issue and take action, specifically by walking out at on April 20th.

The official SDA mission statement says that they “demand meaningful action from our state legislators… We demand that not one more student falls victim to gun violence. We demand that our legislators create and vote for common sense gun legislation.”

The “common sense gun legislation” SDA is proposing involves about ten specific proposals. These include raising the age to buy any firearm to 21, Not allowing concealed carry within schools, places of worship, and public transportation, better background checks, banning bump stocks, prohibiting the private transfer of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines, imposing a minimum waiting period of 72 hours when buying a gun, and significantly regulating the sales of ammunition (for gun shows as well).

Although these restrictions are considered by many people to be “common sense,” there seems to be little to none evidence to prove many of these proposals would make a real difference in deterring gun violence. Essentially, SDA is calling to ban access for law-abiding Americans to gain certain kinds of weapons and then telling those same people that even though they may legally have a concealed carry permit, they cannot bring those guns to places where people might need them most.

This article is not meant to focus solely on the gun control debate and there is a lot more to be said on the role of guns in society and shootings. This being said, I, as many other people do, believe that there are other answers for solving gun violence outside of gun control.

I will not be walking out of school because either I don’t want to advocate for a “do something” shouting festival, or I do not agree with how the organization believes the gun violence problem should be solved. People all agree America needs changes whether it concerns culture, laws, etc., but the country needs to proceed with both discernment and wisdom.

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