This Girl Is Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence
I’m 15 years old, and I can’t remember a time where there hasn’t been a school shooting in America. Having grown up outside Chicago, I’m also constantly hearing about the gun violence plaguing my city.
Gun control is complicated in America, especially at this moment. People disagree on whether to protect the Second Amendment, abolish guns altogether, or if there’s a happy medium between the two. Gun violence, however, is not a partisan issue. Plenty of Republicans and gun owners are involved with organizations such as Moms Demand Action and Everytown, who work together to push for gun reform and safety.
I have volunteered and lobbied for both organizations for four years now, and I’ve learned how to fight for what I’m passionate about. I went to my state’s capital and lobbied with families and survivors of shootings. I marched in parades, I assisted in organizing meetings, and I’m currently working on a rally for my high school. My sister and I have walked into our politicians’ offices and expressed our concerns face to face. We’ve had tearful conversations about our safety and the sorrow we feel for families who have lost loved ones. It’s important for my sister and me to use our voices, especially as we’ve begun to realize that we could easily be impacted by a senseless act of gun violence anywhere—regardless of whether we were at school or the movies.
For the most part, politicians seem to appreciate what we kids have to say, but a handful of them act as though they’ve been bought out by the National Rifle Association. This org, as you probably know, says it promotes the legal and safe use of guns while defending the constitutional right to bear arms. What is not mentioned in the mission statement, however, is their copious donations to U.S. politicians. It’s straight-up ignorant for these leaders to not listen to our young voices; come the November primary, many of us will possess the power to vote (and more specifically, vote these people straight out of office).
The violence goes beyond what I hear about every weekend on the Chicago streets. It takes place in schools, on highways, through domestic abuse, outside grocery stores. Gun violence has never been an issue *just* found in dangerous parts of neighborhoods; but now, more than ever, it has become everybody’s issue. Since Sandy Hook, two dozen states have weakened gun laws to make it easier to purchase and carry weapons. Now, more than ever, we must push to increase background checks on all gun purchases, increase the age requirement for gun purchases, limit the amount assault weapons people can obtain, and place restrictions for people with criminal, domestic abuse, and mental illness history to purchase guns.
Fortunately, there are tons of opportunities to get involved. Marches and protests are being held on March 14, March 24, and April 20th. You don't have to wait until then; you can call your representatives and let them know how you feel. Using your voice for good has never been more important.
By Brianna Murray, 15