AMHS Students Walkout Against Gun Violence


AMHS PARKING LOT — On Wednesday, April 26, at the beginning of lunch, AMHS Students participated in a walkout against gun violence in the United States. Students from all grades came together to protest. Exiting through the front door of the foreign language hallway, students proceeded to gather around the American flag in the parking lot. On the way out, students walked by fellow Raptors holding up signs. “I should be worried about my SATs, not my life,” read one sign.

It was less than a month ago when a shooter broke into a Nashville school, firing through the glass at the main entrance. They fatally shot three children and three adults. 

It was less than a year ago when nineteen children and two adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, the deadliest shooting at a Texas school in history.

Beyond schools, firearms are the number one cause of death among children in the United States. In industrialized nations throughout the world, firearm-related deaths rank no higher than 5th. This is a fundamental problem in the United States, rooted in the country’s laws and unjustly defended by its constitution. 

I should be worried about my SATs, not my life,

Following a six-minute moment of silence around the American flag, Senior Willa Wiley, president of the Speech and Debate Club, presented this argument before her classmates. She pointed out what is commonly referred to as the “Charleston Loophole.” The Charleston Loophole is a dangerous gap in the federal system that allows gun sales to proceed after three business days, even if the background check has not yet been completed. Members of the Students Demand Action Club and the Young Democrats Club stood united behind her. Senior Lizzie Murray described Wiley’s speech as “really well-written and really well-delivered.” 

These fundamental problems in the system need to be addressed and can be fixed. For example, the State of South Carolina can address the Charleston Loophole by giving background check operators more time to determine if a buyer is prohibited. Background checks are common practices among employers, so why do they fall short when it comes to the lives of thousands of children across the United States?

The Nashville school shooter was in possession of an AR-15 military-style rifle, a 9 mm Kel-Tec SUB2000 pistol caliber carbine, and a 9 mm Smith and Wesson M&P Shield EZ 2.0 handgun, according to Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake. These were only three of the seven weapons later found at her home that the shooter legally bought between October 2020 and June 2022. The law permitted this attack. The parents of the shooter felt they “should not own the weapons,” the chief said. However, Tennessee does not have a “red flag” law that would allow a judge to temporarily seize guns from someone believed to be a threat to themselves or others. The law permitted this attack.

The Raptor walkout is just one of many in the wake of the recent Nashville shooting. Wednesday, April 5, saw thousands of students across the nation walk out of their classes to demand that lawmakers take action. There were more than 300 demonstrations across 41 states and Washington, DC.

In Nashville, students took their walkout a step further, bringing it to the state Capitol. Together, they called for the implementation of red flag laws. More recently, three House Democrats led peaceful protest chants on the House floor. Together, they have been called the “Tennessee Three.” As the whole country watched, the Tennessee State House of Representatives finally made a move. Instead of introducing or entertaining the idea of gun legislation, such as red flag laws, the House voted to expel two of the members of the Tennessee Three for their chants: Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The third, Gloria Johnson, was able to keep her seat by only one vote. 

As shootings increase and lawmakers continue to stay idle, the youngest generation in this country is left with no choice but to use the power of their voice.