The Paw (Tigard, Oregon)
Around 100 students abruptly left their classrooms earlier today to participate in the nationwide “Stand for the Second” walkout. They rallied at the school’s front doors at 10 a.m. this morning, standing together to show their support for the Second Amendment and opposition of gun legislation.
Sophomores Bonifacio Yuzon, Tanner Watts, and freshman Erik Liang gave a mini-speech at the head of this sizable crowd, listing off reasons and giving examples as to why they believe new gun control laws in the United States would be ineffective. “People have been misled and uninformed about guns for far too long,” Watts said. The rest of the group listened attentively, some holding American flags and many wearing gun-related T-shirts. “It is now more important than ever that we make our voices heard,” Yuzon said. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
In one analogy, Yuzon discussed the failures of the Prohibition era as well as the current federal ban on methamphetamines and other drugs. Despite the heavy amounts of government spending and criminal prosecution to enforce these laws, he explained, there still exists a black market for thousands of people to obtain illegal substances. Likewise, banning guns would not prevent criminals from obtaining them.
“The answer to stopping or heavily reducing school violence lies not in infringing the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Yuzon said. He, Watts and Liang agreed that raising the legal age to purchase a gun, tightening background checks, or banning guns altogether will not affect people who would find another way.
They suggested that gun control activists take a different approach to creating a safer nation. “The blame for school shootings should not be on guns, but the people that are using them,” Liang said. He noted that school shootings have only recently become a prevalent problem in American history, and that there is almost a direct correlation between mass shooters and mental illness. In fact, all three called for better diagnoses and treatment availability for the mentally ill to ensure everyone can be safer and more responsible around firearms.
Watts elaborated on his stance on guns in an interview for The Paw. When asked whether or not teachers should be allowed to bear arms at school, Watts admitted he is on the fence about that topic. “Honestly, I think the whole ‘teachers with guns’ thing is blown out of proportion,” he said. “It’s not really a great idea.” Watts instead proposed tighter security measures for schools, like adding metal detectors and more armed guards. He asserted that locking a few more doors at certain times of the day is not enough.
There were some mixed opinions among people who didn’t attend the walkout. Some teachers and students believed this walkout was quieter and less disruptive than the previous two, and that the students who went had a respectable opinion. Others regarded this protest as nothing more than a petty response to the earlier ones, believing that the attendees were only there to stir up controversy. Nonetheless, it seems like students are more eager than ever to involve themselves in real world matters, stand up for their beliefs, and get the conversation going.
Voices in the Halls: What do you think of the message in today’s walkout?
“Nobody is trying to take away their guns. They’re just trying to take away the unnecessary ones that the general mass does not need[…] We’re trying to get rid of the assault rifles.” – Junior Iris Nieto-Alvarez
“There are still people at this school who are supporting the Second Amendment[…] I don’t think outlawing guns is actually going to get us anywhere.” – Junior Jacob Demmin
“I think certain people should not be able to get a gun very easily. There needs to be protocol for it. I think there should be gun control.” – Freshman Hannah Gallagher
“I think there should be some form of comprehensive gun control. [But] they are entitled to their beliefs, so I respect their right to assemble.” – Junior John Freudenthal
Photo Credit: The Paw Publications (Isaiah Salazar)