Students march to promote change for gun policy


Photo provided by Connor McCue

Students pose with anti-gun violence signs, urging lawmakers to protect citizens. The march signified unity of students across the country.

Maggie Parks, Reporter

Students joined an estimated 800,000 others from around the world in the March For Our Lives on March 24 in Washington D.C. There were multiple marches across the country, with at least one in each state.

“There was so many people -so many types of people- of all different ages. They were all so passionate. It was really empowering,” participant Jake Turner (’19) said.

March For Our Lives is a student-led organization created in response to the tragic deaths of 17 people in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 18. The mission of the March is to eradicate fear of school shootings and instill hope for students and families. The event supports the Enough is Enough movement, which seeks to reform government policy in order to improve safety in schools.

“We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes,” the March For Our Lives website states.

Protestors were accompanied by many familiar faces, including survivors of the Parkland shooting. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor and advocate for the campaign, spoke briefly before remaining silent for over four minutes, representing the time it took for the shooter to kill the 17 victims. Musical guests included Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato.

The White House released a statement soon after to clarify the goals of President Donald J. Trump.

“We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today…Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s, which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law,” said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

The Fix NICS bill increases security with more thorough background checks of gun buyers. The STOP School Violence Acts offers money to states to better detect possible shooters and train teachers, law enforcement, and students to react to dangerous events. Neither propose bans on certain weapons or weapon accessories.

Many Americans, including students at our school, are frustrated with the current policy and the proposed changes, which seem to avoid the actual issue.

“I would [change current U.S. gun laws] by raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21,” said March For Our Lives participant Tori McManus (’18). “I also think we should ban military assault rifles.”

Two of the nation’s largest gun retailers, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced plans to modify their weapon sales, even though laws have not restricted them to do so. Walmart is raising the minimum gun buying age at their stores to 21 and Dick’s Sporting Goods is also enforcing this rule, in addition to ending all sales of assault rifles.

If you wish to see change in our country and are at least 16 years of age, you can register to vote. For more information or to fill out a voter registration form, go to and click the “register to vote” box.

“I think an agreement can be reached, because everyone knows a change is needed just nobody knows what that change is,” Turner said.

Prior to March For Our Lives, students participated in a school walk-out, which commemorated the lives lost to school shootings. Harbinger editor-in-chief Michael Purdie (’18) led the demonstration while other students announced the victims’ names and biographies. To read more about the walk-out, go to the Harbinger website.