Gun debate takes D.C. and Kent by storm

Written by on May 9, 2018

Over the last month, the gun debate in our country has been intensifying. On March 24th , in Washington Dc, people of all ages took part in the March for Our Lives rally to demand stricter gun laws. And the debate is continuing back at Kent State.

Over the last month, the gun debate in our country has been intensifying. On March 24th , in Washington Dc, people of all ages took part in the March for Our Lives rally to demand stricter gun laws. And the debate is continuing back at Kent State.

In D.C. crowds of protestors were heard chanting, “Power to the people, not the guns, power to the people, not the guns…”

The Washington D.C. rally was organized by the Parkland Florida school shooting survivors was the largest single day protest in history with a record number of 800,00 people in attendance at the nation’s capital.

Susan Marshall, a protestor at the rally said she was there to support the young protestors. “People are tired of this and this is a new generation to have a voice”.

Young people like 10-year-old Kyle who went to the march. “I’m here because I don’t want guns in schools and I don’t want people to die for no reason”.

Another young student, Michael Randall also had lots to say. “Enough is enough and there have been too many deaths and it’s time for the youth to take action because no one is doing anything to stop this”. Michael and his friend, Prince were standing along Pennsylvania Avenue advocating while giving out free hugs because they say, “It’s important to spread positivity, with all this negativity going around the country…so we’re here to represent all the students who were injured and sadly killed in the shootings…they need to have stricter gun laws to protect us, it’s not fair”.

At Kent State, college students are also taking part in the gun debate conversation. The Kent State College Democrats here hold meetings every week to discuss recent issues…one being the topic of the AR-15 gun. College Democrat member said that he knows people use the AR-15 gun for hunting but that it’s a conversation that needs to be talked about.

I reached out the College Democrats club for further comment on this issue but did not receive a response back, however the Kent State College Republicans have a lot to say about this issue including the VP of the College Republicans, Rachel Walker.

“Whoever kind of argues that point they don’t know about AR-15’s…they say that it’s an automatic weapon but it’s not…and just people are all over the place with them but I mean I shoot them” Walker said.

Walker added that that everybody, in their organization is pretty much on the same page when it comes to the AR-15…that there doesn’t need to be any control over them…but some protestors back in D.C. disagreed including protestors, Marsha and Abby.

“At the very least if they banned all weapons that are not protected by the second amendment…that would be huge…assault rifles…bump stocks are not protected by the 2nd amendment. This is an easy one, it doesn’t cost tax payers any money…you just ban them,” Marsha said. And high schooler Abby said that, “It’s really important to us that we can go to school and not feel like we’re in danger”.

I also talked to the communications director for the College Republicans, Jeffrey King who said that it’s not a gun issue but a mental health issue within schools.

“If schools had more counselors and they had better resources then maybe a lot of these things could be stopped” “If a teacher has a concealed carry then I think they should be more than welcome to bring that into school but I don’t think every teacher needs to carry,” King said.

However, Jenny Stoden a teacher from Connecticut who traveled to D.C. for the march thinks otherwise saying that, “these guns don’t belong in our country, they don’t belong in the hands of anyone but a military expert and they certainly don’t belong in my school”.

With the huge turnout for these protests on March 24th…things took a quieter turn back at Kent State University, Rachel Walker says they haven’t seen any differences on Kent’s campus in response to the Florida school shooting…however, the College Republicans have open discussions about this issue saying that, “The college democrats will come to our meetings and we can all have a reasonable discussion about it, it’s just making sure you’re knowledgeable of the whole debate and then applying the facts to back up your opinions I just think here’s room for this good dialogue if both sides are well knowledge.”

Dialogue like that that many of the March for Our Lives protestors had opinions on including high school student, Collete Combs who says, “Since 2012 there have been a hundred pieces of gun control legislation introduced to congress and not a single one has passed and we’re really tired of waiting so we’re here to say to we’re tired”.

Collete took a 10-hour drive to the nation’s capital to share her voice on this issue. “I encourage my student body to be involved in politics just because the most effective way to create change is through politics and I know a lot of people think that’s corrupt…but if we stand up and say we have a voice…that’s what American democracy is all about, its about the people taking charge and the people being the ones who are guiding our representatives who are elected to represent us. By having so many thousands of people here by taking a stand and having our voices heard were going to get something done,” Collete added.

In addition to Collete being active with her voice, she also started a club in her own high school where she writes to local representatives but College Republican VP, Rachel Walker has a different thought about the March for Our Lives rally.

Walker says, “I think it’s nice that people were able to come together and show they had a strong opinion over something but really if you want to get something done, it’s about the grass roots work of going door to door and expressing your concern rather than having a for show march”.

Walker has her opinion on gun control and many others around the country are continuing this conversation. At Kent State, the Black United students formed a silent walk out on April 19th to protest gun control and on April 27th…there was an open carry and firearms demonstration on campus. It’s unclear where gun control legislation will go from here but Ohio Governor John Kasik announced that he plans to take action.

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