Students discuss viewpoints on gun regulations

March 8, 2018

In light of recent events, the Booster Redux asked students and teachers about their opinions regarding gun control and safety. These are their responses.


Addy Campbell, sophomore

“We are having an issue here, and people are dying. From one hunter to another, I understand that there’s the Second Amendment. But when the Second Amendment was made, [we did not have the] rifles and technology we have now. People are losing their lives, so obviously there needs to be a change one way or another. If it means more gun control, then yes. There have been so many lives lost. I don’t think it should take somebody putting a gun to the head of your child for you to wake up and be like, ‘Oh, this is an issue.’ I don’t want to have to say there should be an age restriction. In my mind, if you’re an adult, go buy a gun if you want one. Something must have happened to that kid [in Parkland, Florida] that made him want to go shoot up this school. I just think we’re not dealing with the issues of people. Instead, we’re trying to deal with the issues of what the people are using. There are issues in our school where people are just awful to other kids. Be nice to other people. We should stop ignoring issues. I wish people who hunt and own guns wouldn’t get so upset and heated about it because obviously we’re not going to freak out and take all of your guns. We’re trying to save lives.”


Shay Mahnken, sophomore

“It depends on the situation. I feel like bump-stocks ban and more background checks are good. But if we’re talking about banning assault rifles, I don’t agree with that because there’s not much [of a] difference between assault rifles and regular hunting rifles. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, you have the right to own the gun of your choice. If you’re not a law-abiding citizen, you should not be able to have guns. If you take guns away from the law-abiding citizens, the criminals will still find a way to get guns. I feel like schools have a great way of taking action with ALICE and being defensive. But I feel like we need to take the offensive side. If certain teachers go through background checks, they should be able to carry guns. Not [that long ago], more people had more guns per capita than we do today. That’s a big part of it. None of those guns killed anybody, none of those guns did anything to anybody because nobody ever thought about that. I know people used to bring their guns to school and show them off to their buddies. They would go home and go hunting after school. I feel that it’s not the gun’s fault, it’s the people’s fault.”


Tony Taylor, sophomore

“Guns are necessary to defend yourself. They’re for hunting and defending you and your family. It is part of the Constitution to protect yourself from tyrannical government in case something were to happen. Gun control would not be effective. [People] would still be able to get unregistered guns. They’d be able to get these guns no matter what. I have guns around my house. I don’t go shooting a whole lot, maybe once a year. It’s not very often, but I enjoy it. It’s fun. There’s planning involved in it, which is a big thing. It’s an enjoyable experience. [Second Amendment rights are] an important thing for me to have. It’s an important thing for all citizens under the U.S. Constitution to have.”


Jason Susnik, social studies teacher

“I’m not an expert by any means, but I do feel like, anecdotally, I can look at the news and see what’s happening in our country. I do believe we need stricter gun control laws. It seems like a lot of our politicians want to make it harder to vote. To become a teacher, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops, which is fine, but to purchase a deadly weapon that can kill a lot of people, we should have the same standard. We have the Second Amendment right to own firearms, but I think there needs to be a limit. There needs to be restrictions because when they came up with the Second Amendment, [weapons were] nothing like they are today. I don’t know if our founding fathers envisioned it to be the way it is today. Columbine was the first big school shooting. That’s been almost 20 years and nothing has happened. It’s almost easier to get highly destructive weapons now. It makes me feel bad, I’m a little numb to it and I’m a little cynical. Now I’m teaching and I’m still seeing the same thing on the news, and I’m seeing the same responses to these shootings. But lately with the kids in Florida, it’s gotten me pumped up, and made me proud of the younger generation. It’s made me hopeful based on how they’ve responded.”


Will Comeau, junior

“I believe every citizen of the United States of America should have the right to bear arms. That is just one of the reasons that makes this the greatest country in the world. No matter how much you abuse, neglect or mistreat a firearm, it will never walk over to you and shoot you. This is because a gun is a non-living object, which doesn’t kill people. When someone dies due to a drunk driver they don’t blame the car, they blame the driver, so why is everyone blaming the guns? Every teacher in a school should have the choice to possess a firearm during school to help ensure the safety of students and teachers in a scenario like a school shooting.”


Meghan Hess, senior

“When we talk about the Second Amendment, I do believe that a citizen does have the right to own a firearm. But I feel that they need to start cracking down on what kind of guns we have in the hands of citizens. There are a number of factors that go into the subject. We start off with mental health issues, these kids who are too scared to go to the counselors because they think the counselors are going to report them to their parents or they are just not going to help them whatsoever, so mental health is worsening. With the issue of bullying, right after a school or mass shooting happens, it isn’t taken very seriously. I tend to hear students in the hallways joking about, ‘Oh, I’m going to be the next school shooter’ and just making light of the situation. It’s just not taken seriously. Then, there comes the issue of access of firearms: I feel that kids just have too easy of access to weapons. No citizen should have their hands on a weapon that can kill multiple people within seconds. We also need to be closing the gun show loopholes so people can’t buy these guns out of people’s trunks in Walmart parking lots. Also, impose how many donations from the NRA lobbyists or politicians can take because it’s just a money game and it’s absolutely sick. We are trading children’s lives for money and it’s tragic.”


Lyn Schultze, English teacher 

“My overall opinion on gun control is automatic weapons, especially automatic rifles and bump stocks, should be banned as purchases from the general public. I don’t think anyone needs an AR-15. My husband probably had about 40 or 50 guns, and I still have 12. I’m not anti-gun, and I think it’s fine to have shotguns, handguns and rifles. But, there has to be a reason why school shooters are disproportionately young, white men. What’s the reasoning behind this and what compels them to take other people’s lives? You can’t just say they are all mentally ill or insane. What needs to change is [we need] to get new people in Congress, which will change the laws protecting our children, and not go off on some radical tangent that we should arm teachers. That would mean we are accepting the status quo that school shootings are just going to happen. Instead of preventing school shootings, we are going to weaponize teachers? That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. I totally agree with the Parkland survivors when they say politicians have been taking money from the NRA and the blood of these children is on their hands. I honestly hope they are going to make a difference and change things, because Congress has to act to protect the citizens and the school children of America.”


Bailey Julian, junior

“I think if we were going to have more gun control, it would have to be more safety precautions because not letting people have guns isn’t going to solve the problem. They will just find another gun. Guns are a big part in my life. I was taught at a very young age to respect them. They are very dangerous weapons, and we use them quite a bit. The Second Amendment was put there for a reason, and we definitely have a right to be able to protect ourselves with guns. But, if it is a more dangerous gun, like a ranged gun, then you should have to be older, and background checks should be a little more stricter just make sure their history is clean, and to find out what they plan to do with it. I think the school shootings could have been preventable. I understand schools are big, but if you saw the problem child who might be showing signs, or acting strange, the situation would have be preventable if we had more armed people in schools. If we had one teacher in each hallway who was certified with a gun, I think less kids would die.”


Mason Sutton, senior

“My entire family owns guns, and I grew up with two gun safes inside my home. I definitely think the age limits and restrictions need to be changed. No 18-year-old needs to own an AR-15, and there definitely need to be harsher laws and background checks on all types of weapons no matter what. [Although], I own two AR-15s, but I don’t use them for anything. I think the Second Amendment was made for guns, but it wasn’t meant for semi-automatic guns that can take people down. Especially with the attachments you can get for them. In my point of view, a lot of school shootings have a lot to do with how [students] are treated in school. I know it’s not right, but they think it’s the only way to lash out at the people that hurt them [mentally]. Making harsher gun laws and by doing more background checks, we could eliminate some of the issues, but it still won’t solve them all. It is a terrible subject, and I think we need to do something about that.”


Jeff Staley, activities director

“I fall somewhere in the middle on gun control. I’m an avid hunter and land owner in Missouri. I own a farm. I own guns, which are used for hunting. I see no need to own an automatic rifle. I believe in the Second Amendment. We have the right to protect ourselves and our property. I also believe I don’t have the right to tell anybody what you [can] or cannot own. Here’s what I believe. One, as administrators, we have a job to provide the safest environment we possibly can to our students. I think the number one rule is students should go to school and feel safe. We do what we can to protect students while they’re here. At my core, school shootings are a reflection of a larger issue in society on the topic of mental health, and I believe any way we can help that will reduce school shootings even more than just gun control.”


Corbin Jefferson, senior

“School is a place where you’re supposed to feel safe without worrying about someone coming in and shooting you. If you have an assault rifle, I believe you should only be able to have a five-round clip. If you own a magazine that can hold over 30 [rounds], you should be 21. I think the best way to go is stricter gun restrictions and maybe more officers in schools. You should have a thorough background check, what crimes you have committed and all that stuff. I also think that if you are able to own one of these weapons, you have to go through certain training. A lot of it maybe has to do with bullying, illness or what goes on at home. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. If you see someone who’s down or needs help, you should reach out and just help people. It’s a hard world and we have to help people. Just do whatever you can to reach out and help someone in need.”


A.J. Lair, senior

“[Gun control] is not going to work. If you are for gun control, you can [look at] Chicago. It has the strictest gun laws in the world and it’s one of the deadliest cities in the United States, so I disagree. If you look at all of the recent shootings that we’ve had, we didn’t have that many [school shooters] until we made such a big deal out of the first few and glorified them instead of glorifying the victims. You know, the ones who risked their lives and the ones who died? Instead, we made the school shooter more popular until all of the other [shooters wanted attention] and said, ‘That’s the way I can get attention.’ If someone’s going to shoot someplace up, they’re not going to go to a place where there are armed guards, where they can be stopped red-handed. They’re going to go to the easiest target and 90 percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. You can arm a teacher if they have the right training, you can have one in each buildings. If we have armed teachers, armed guards, armed veterans, armed whatever protecting schools, I think it will drastically drop mass shootings.”

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