By Philip Johnson & Torin Alexander
On March 24 2018, the biggest youth march since the Vietnam War demonstrations took place across the United States to protests gun laws and school safety. The march was in response to the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where
seventeen teachers and students died and fourteen were injured. The Washington Post estimates that eight hundred thousand people were in D.C. alone for the event. That estimate would make it the largest gathering of people for a protest in the nation's capital ever. However, marches across the country in Boston, Houston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles were also held to commemorate the lives of the kids who died and to lobby for new gun laws. Many others believe this protest is obnoxious and unnecessary, and to those people we ask, how many more people have to die before you change your mind?
Since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High school, there have been 122 fatalities due to school shootings. After the most recent school shooting, many Americans believe stricter gun laws need to be put in place so people with mental illnesses can’t easily purchase firearms. Another change wanted is that auto and semi-automatic weapons be made illegal. The firearm used by the Parkland school shooter, Sandy Hook school shooter, and the Vegas shooter was an AR15. It is an semi-automatic rifle that fires one bullet at a time. However, with the use of bump stocks, which all three shooters also used the weapon can fire up to four hundred bullets per minute.
Anti-gun protesters argue these weapons as well as bump stocks shouldn’t be allowed to the public. The marches were for not allowing these kinds of weapons to be legal, especially for people who don’t qualify. Laws for every state that should be put in place prohibiting people with a history of mental illness from obtaining any firearms. Glenelg Sophomore, Rilyn Romero, states, “Most of the mass shootings in the U.S. since Columbine have been conducted by mentally ill people. So if you don’t allow these people to purchase guns then maybe that will alleviate the problem.” This is one of the goals hoped to be accomplished by the marchers.
This march hoped to raise attention for the fight against gun laws that have been in place for hundreds of years. These laws were made when citizens needed guns for survival. To hunt for food and protect against wildlife and attacks from Native Americans. Those same rules and regulations are what people today want changed. Students and parents across the country came together to let their voice be heard.
Some people feel differently. Glenelg Senior, Chris Barlow, states “The protesters accomplished their goal in getting their voices heard, but for the wrong reasons. I’m all for keeping guns out of the hands of people who aren't mentally stable, but restricting them from the rest of the population is wrong”. Opinions like that, unfortunately for the protesters, are shared by a lot of American legislators. Many members of congress and even our president have been known to defend the current gun laws and support the National Rifle Association.
Started by teenagers, this march, explains how upset even the kids are on this subject. For kids across the country, to plan a protest means that the subject at hand is at least somewhat important. People want absolute change because they believe its absurd for people to continue to lose their lives due to lenient gun laws that haven't been changed for years. Teenagers are scared to go to school, a place that's supposed to be a safe environment, which is now a common location for mass shootings. Others have different opinions because they believe that creating stricter gun laws will interfere with their second amendment that allows them to keep firearms in their possession. The future, relating to gun safety, seems to be unknown at the moment, but one thing that's true is that there needs to be some sort of change.