Students influence national debate on gun control

Nina Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief

Students here are joining in the efforts lead by shooting survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to urge Congress to take action on gun control.

Since the shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, Stoneman Douglas students have lead and planned a number of gun control activism efforts, the first of which is a walkout on March 14. Students plan to leave their classrooms at 10 am and stay out for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the Parkland shooting.

“We’re going to try to work it into our schedule so that it becomes a part of our learning day,” Principal Liz Seabury said. “We collectively are walking out to say that we have had it with school shootings.”

According to Time Magazine, multiple organizations and activists have come together to organize a

“March for Our Lives” on March 24. The official march will take place in Washington, D.C. but many sister marches will also take place in over 400 locations around the world. Senior Kirsty Star plans to participate in the march taking place in San Francisco.

“I’m participating in the march because too many innocent lives have been lost,” senior Kirsty Star said, “Guns should be much more difficult to access.”

A third demonstration is planned for April 20, according to the National School Walkout website. This walkout is protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence.” Students will gather outside at 10 a.m., participate in 17 minutes of silence to honor the victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, and the rest of the day is up to the discretion of each school; possible options for schedules are available on their website.

“I think if we aren’t going to be safe at school we should demand change through social activism until we are,” social studies teacher Michael Clune said.

The activism of Stoneman Douglas students has already set in motion a number of changes. The New York Times reported that since the shooting, two major gun retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart have raised the minimum age to buy firearms from 18 to 21. Both companies also ceased their sales of assault-style rifles and have also stated that these changes are in direct response to the Parkland shooting.

The NRA has also faced backlash since the shooting with a number of companies publicly cutting ties with the organization. According to CNN, high profile companies such as Hertz, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines are among a list of about a dozen companies that have ended their discount programs with the NRA.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law on March 9 that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 and extended the waiting period to three days according to the New York Times.

There has been no progress on implementing laws blocking anyone with a history of mental health disorders,domestic violence, or criminal background from getting a firearm, another goal of the students’.