Why the Walkout Should Not Be a Partisan Issue: An Op-ED

It is undeniable that gun control has long been a divisive, partisan issue in American politics. Republicans, many of whom have direct ties to the National Rifle Association, have consistently strived to protect the “right to bear arms” declared in the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. Democrats often speak of the need for comprehensive gun legislation and reform.

Both sides are guilty of inaction.

President Obama did not pass significant gun legislation during his two terms in office. Whether they support gun reform or not, American politicians have failed to protect the fate of so many Americans whose lives have been taken by the shot of a gun. They failed to protect the children who were brutally murdered during the Columbine High School massacre in April of 1999. They failed to protect the 20 six and seven-year-olds of Sandy Hook Elementary School who never returned home on December 14, 2012. And they failed to protect the 17 innocent lives that were taken just under two months ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Now, young people across America are taking matters into their own hands. Since the shooting in Parkland, teens have been speaking out in an attempt to challenge politicians and ensure that the February massacre is the last of its kind. And St. Luke’s students are no exception. On Friday, April 20th, SLS students will be given the opportunity to make their voices heard. Students who choose to participate will walk out of class in order to bring attention to this pervasive issue and honor the lives of those lost.

This walkout should not be a partisan issue within our school community. Yes, gun reform consistently divides politicians on the floor of the House and the Senate. Yes, each political party touts its own vision for gun ownership in America. But this is different.

This is a movement led by young people who want to ensure that no mother, father, sister, brother, or friend has to grieve the loss of a loved one who was shot in the chest by a bullet. This is a movement that is intended to make school a safe place for every child in America, so that no parent has to worry that they will never see their son again after he boards the bus to school.

Nobody is trying to take away your guns.

Nobody is trying to take away your guns. The movement has overwhelmingly acknowledged the infeasibility of the abolition of the 2nd Amendment, yet many conservatives and members of the NRA continually use this scare tactic to ward off discussions regarding further legislation.

While the movement does not want all guns to be taken away, its leaders are pushing for a ban on assault weapons.

So why participate?

Americans across the nation value the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves, but no American needs an assault rifle that was formulated for military use. No American needs an AK-47 or an AR-15, or bump stocks that allow shooters to fire rounds at a rapid pace. No 18-year-old needs access to an assault weapon.

The walkout is not designed to sew division within our school community, or within the nation as a whole. This walkout is not solely about bringing attention to the need for comprehensive gun legislation – it is about remembering the 3,851 people in the United States whose lives have been lost due to gun violence in 2018 alone.

– Georgia Rosenberg, Staff Writer

Image Credit: USA Today

Source: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/number-of-gun-deaths?page=17

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