While our country is grieving because of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, survivors, students and all who disagree with our country’s gun laws have started petitions, rallies and awareness of the gun laws that they do not agree with. Those who wish to protect their gun rights have begun to speak up and fight for their beliefs.
Walk-outs have been scheduled in various schools throughout America in favor of the Second Amendment. Students at HSE are speaking up about the gun laws and those in Republican and Democrat clubs have voiced their opinions.
“I believe that bump stocks should be treated as fully automatics, but not banned,” member of the Republican club senior Brant Boram said. “[The school shootings are] more of a mental health and social issue than a gun control issue.”
However, in contrast to this belief senior Joe Bergin, member of the Democrat club contradicts this opinion.
“We have the second amendment in this country, but we have to face the facts that we have a serious problem with guns. When you take a look at the tragedies such as the one that occurred in Parkland, one may ask why it’s necessary for anyone to be able to purchase a military-style weapon such as an AR-15,” Bergin said. “It’s frustrating that the United States cannot take basic steps to keep these weapons out of the hands of people who can commit heinous acts of violence. In Indiana, where the gun laws are notoriously loose, I can’t help but think that more can be done.”
The United States has the most school shootings, while other countries have made stricter gun control laws after attacks in their schools. In 1996, Australia experienced its worst massacre school shooting with 35 deaths. This single shooting led to the National Firearms Agreement that outlawed automatic and semi-automatic rifles, turning in more than 640,000 weapons to authorities. Since this law, Australia has not experienced another mass shooting in the last 22 years.
Japan has the most restricted gun laws compared to other countries. As of 2011, legal gun ownership stood at 271,000 according to police records in a country of 127 million. Some believe that we should take a step in Japan and Australia’s direction and restrict our gun laws. However, the opposing view understands that the Second Amendment is America’s fundamental right and guns provide careers and hobbies for many citizens.
“Guns are not the problem, a gun is a tool as good or as bad as the person using it is, just like a shovel, screwdriver or a knife,” member of the Republican club senior Nate Mroz said. “I am not saying that people should be allowed to buy bump stocks, class 3 guns or any gun without background checks and be passing several screening tests, just that the gun is not the problem. Bad people will always find a way to do bad things to good people no matter what the restrictions are. The problem is in the mind of the shooters and the way they were raised.”
The topic of mental health has long been ignored in America, but now that many of the mass shooters are being classified as mentally ill, America has begun to realize another large issue at hand.
“We should be focused more on the mental health and how America is raising its future,” Mroz said. “Rather than limiting a tool [guns] that we use to defend those trying to restrict its use for American citizens.”
Despite others beliefs, it is important to appreciate and respect those who have a different position on gun control and it is influential for students sharing and having their own voice. Although, with that being said, we must still honor the victim’s lives. At HSE, Principal Kegley and the school administration have been working hard to secure safety procedures, as he discussed in the latest segment of Kegley’s Korner on HSETV.
“Last week we did have a school safety drill and one of the things that we talked about in that drill and what Mrs. Reine shared with you all, was the different language that we want to use in the event of a crisis situation. The Fishers police officers as well as the school district, all the schools, not just our building, are operating under that same language,” Kegley said. “I’ve had conversations with my administrative team about where are some areas where we feel like we could make some strides as far as school safety is concerned and we’ve heard a request for more drills and we are going to work towards that end.”
The answers to the questions of the walk-outs will be released in upcoming weeks, determining whether they will be supported by the school, or deemed a distraction to student learning. Other schools, such as Zionsville, have already stated that any student who participates during school will be punished for their actions because the protest is against school policy, considering it is classified as a disruption in the school day.
The walk-outs are planned for March 14, the one-month anniversary since Parkland, March 24, which is a march on Washington, including one in Indianapolis and the April 20 national walk-out which is the 19 anniversary of the Columbine shooting.