THE TALON

Why the Walkouts of Protesting Students are Wrong

I can understand the frustration among high schoolers on the issue of gun control.

William Tipton, Staff Writer

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If you weren’t knowledgeable about the gun control debate and went to the Academic Magnet High School/School of the Arts walkout, you may think that the NRA employs vicious assassins that murder thousands of students, and get away with it. You may think that school shootings kill a huge proportion of the population, with many students wondering if “I Am Next,” and vowing that “Never Again” will this happen. You would think that the U.S. has a movement that is demanding change from their lawmakers, and by the looks of it 2 weeks ago Wednesday, you would think they are winning. You would be wrong.

This  walk-out comes in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that took place earlier this year in Parkland, Florida. Unlike previous school shootings, the student survivors of this tragic incident felt inclined to almost immediately go to the news and call on lawmakers and leaders to “fix” the gun problem in the United States. I am sympathetic with the friends and families of the victims who wanted a time of mourning and peace following the shooting, which they rightly deserved. Instead, the response they got jump started the heated gun control debate at all levels across the nation, from middle and high school students to the U.S. Congress.

The organizers of the march here at AMHS were unclear with the organization and logistics of the walk-out, and I feel bad for the pro-second amendment students who walked out for the 17 minutes of silence thinking that it would be non-political. Most of us can remember the moment of silence we had the day after the tragic Parkland shooting, with thoughts and prayers going out from AMHS to the friends and families of the victims. Now, months later, the 17 minutes of silence was a nice gesture to the victims, but ultimately a way for the organizers and photographers to draw people to the protest, and to make it seem that more people protested than actually did. This deception is nothing surprising considering the group of people involved, but it is important to note.

Limiting the second amendment in any major way, such as putting a ban on certain types of guns, would lead this country down a slippery slope of gun control until the right is completely taken away.”

Two landmark gun debate cases ruled on by the Supreme Court have led to the conclusion that the modern-day pro-gun argument is more constitutionally and lawfully sound than any form of infringement on Second Amendment rights. Columbia v. Heller (2008) upheld the individual citizen’s right to own a gun for any reason, including self defense, sport, and hunting. Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016) ruled that the U.S. government, according to the second amendment, must allow all forms of “bearable arms.” This would include all non-military grade weapons, including semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

The facts of the situation according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which many on the pro-gun control side of the argument do not like, are that gun deaths among children aged 10-18 account for only 8% of deaths in this age group. This amounts to about 1,300 children per year. While the goal for this number should be zero, gun violence doesn’t affect anywhere near a majority of the 41.7 million children aged 10-18 in the U.S. I do think that common sense policies should be introduced, but what many of those protesting and walking out are advocating is radical, ineffective, and ultimately, unconstitutional.

 

This point leads to what really needs to be done (no, it is not banning AR-15s, or placing an age limit on law abiding citizens): fix and strengthen the background check system (especially to include police reports and juvenile records), fund and build protections and opportunities for those battling mental illnesses, and allow teachers who have the training to carry a gun in the classroom to protect the students. Had these policies been implemented, it is far less likely that 17 kids would have been killed at the hands of this deranged shooter. These points would have stayed in line with the Supreme Court as well as the Constitution, and would keep children in schools much safer than before. While arming teachers is a controversial solution to this problem, it would be an effective deterrent to the mentally ill people considering shooting up a school, and if one were to enter a school with the intent to kill, it would allow for a stronger line of defense.

I can understand the frustration in the United States, especially among entitled millenials and high school teens, on the issue of gun control. To them, and those favoring gun control, fixing this problem is as simple as banning a certain rifle, or creating more hoops for a law-abiding citizen to jump through to exercise their constitutional right. That would solve the problem right? Didn’t that deranged, mentally ill, 19 year old purchase that ‘military weapon’ legally? I would respond to those questions by saying that an AR-15 is not a military weapon, and yes, it was his Constitutional right upheld by the Supreme Court. What is NOT his Constitutionally ensured right is being reported to the FBI and police on several occasions and still purchasing this gun. Why didn’t they act on those warnings? Why didn’t the resource officer enter the building? Why didn’t the background check system pick up the reports against him heard by the police and FBI? What many protesters do not understand is that there were numerous other factors in Cruz committing this horrible act, but the debate always comes back to the easy scapegoat of guns, and to the protesters, the gun is the entire problem.

The second amendment of the United States is what makes this country special, unique, and different from the rest of the world. We allow our citizens to arm themselves in any way they feel is necessary against anything or anyone who would intend to do harm, including our government. Limiting the second amendment in any major way, such as putting a ban on certain types of guns, would lead this country down a slippery slope of gun control until the right is completely taken away.

 

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