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We need gun-control reform not gun-control debate

Legislators need to stop touting tired talking points and take action to prevent future school shootings

Students+from+schools+all+across+AISD+raise+signs+and+chant+as+the+march+towards+the+Capitol+Building+as+part+of+the+National+Student+Walkout+to+protest+gun+violence+on+April+20.+%E2%80%9CThe+reason+I+came+is+because+three+of+my+friends+have+died+because+of+gun+violence+in+the+last+two+months%2C%E2%80%9D+Robert+Spong+said.+%E2%80%9CIt+is+a+defining+issue+and%2C+%5Bfrom%5D+what+I%E2%80%99ve+seen+today%2C+I+really+think+we%E2%80%99re+going+to+make+a+change.%E2%80%9D+Photo+by+Kristen+Tibbetts.
Students from schools all across AISD raise signs and chant as the march towards the Capitol Building as part of the National Student Walkout to protest gun violence on April 20. “The reason I came is because three of my friends have died because of gun violence in the last two months,” Robert Spong said. “It is a defining issue and, [from] what I’ve seen today, I really think we’re going to make a change.” Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

Students from schools all across AISD raise signs and chant as the march towards the Capitol Building as part of the National Student Walkout to protest gun violence on April 20. “The reason I came is because three of my friends have died because of gun violence in the last two months,” Robert Spong said. “It is a defining issue and, [from] what I’ve seen today, I really think we’re going to make a change.” Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

Kristen Tibbetts

Kristen Tibbetts

Students from schools all across AISD raise signs and chant as the march towards the Capitol Building as part of the National Student Walkout to protest gun violence on April 20. “The reason I came is because three of my friends have died because of gun violence in the last two months,” Robert Spong said. “It is a defining issue and, [from] what I’ve seen today, I really think we’re going to make a change.” Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

Emma Baumgardner

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Emma’s column originally appeared on the Youth Radio website. To see the original post, click here.

Kristen Tibbetts
Sophomore Eric Willard stands in the corner of Wooldridge Park on April 20, overlooking the Capitol after the buses from McCallum arrived. The $1.05 mentioned on his sign represents the amount of money that presidential candidate Marco Rubio received from the NRA per student in Florida. “We’re worth so much more than that.” Willard said. Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

Gun ownership in Texas is treated as a birthright. Having grown up surrounded by this culture, I understand people’s fears the government will restrict their ability to own firearms. But in the wake of yet another school shooting — this one in Santa Fe, Texas, claiming 10 lives barely four hours from my house — the right to bear arms is not the right in question. The greaterneed is to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.

I am lucky to have never experienced gun violence firsthand — only the fear of it. The first mass shooting I remember happened when I was 12. My mom sat me down at the dining room table and tearfully explained to me that 20 children were gunned down in their classrooms.

The fact that my elected officials have decided to place the burden of safety from gun violence on the schools themselves is shameful.”

We don’t talk about Sandy Hook in my house because my parents want my little sister to feel safe at school. But she’s now 12 and I’m not sure how long that feeling will last.

Kristen Tibbetts
Protesters from two different generations sit on the steps of the gazebo in Wooldridge park, waiting for the National Student Walkout protest in Austin to begin on April 20. Even though the majority of protesters were high school students, they were joined by a few middle school students, elementary students, and even adults. Photo by Kristen Tibbetts.

It wasn’t until recently, after the Parkland shooting, that a national movement emerged, leaving me and countless others hopeful that, finallyaction would be taken to prevent these tragedies. In April, I was one of the hundreds of students who left class and marched to the Texas Capitol.

Media outlets labeled us as the generation that would make a difference in the fight to end gun violence. Yet, even with all of this courage and heart, it will take much more for the nation to change. The Second Amendment is too far ingrained in our country’s history, especially in my state.

In the wake of today’s school shooting, Texas Lt. Gov.Dan Patrick suggested that perhaps schools should limit the entrances and exits since there aren’t enough people to guard all of them. My school district in Austin recently enacted a policy that keeps most school entrances locked during the school day.

There will be more children killed if we don’t settle our differences and come together to pass comprehensive legislation.”

The fact that my elected officials have decided to place the burden of safety from gun violence on the schools themselves is shameful. Stopping gun violence and mass shootings start with more comprehensive background checks, the banning of certain guns, and more funding for mental health services.

Fear and money thrown around by gun lobbyists are misleading both the public and politicians from the absurd reality that gun rights are now worth more than students’ lives. We can debate gun policy, but the heart of the matter is that there will be more children killed if we don’t settle our differences and come together to pass comprehensive legislation.

I’m a Texas native, and I’m confident the state that I love so much will rectify its past, and come together to pass comprehensive gun reform legislation. Even if it doesn’t happen in the next 10 or even 20 years, I have faith in my generation to rise to the occasion and create a better future for generations to come.

1 Comment

One Response to “We need gun-control reform not gun-control debate”

  1. laracraft on July 1st, 2018 10:40 am

    Everyone should obey gun control rules.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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We need gun-control reform not gun-control debate