Across the nation today, students walked out of their classrooms. The protests spilled out onto football fields. The students hope that the nation will take notice of their enthusiasm and compel lawmakers to overhaul existing gun laws. But what about the students who stayed in their classrooms?
CNN sent crews to cover the walkout. They spoke with some of those who decided to stay in, too.
Noah Borba, a16-year-old sophomore at Buffalo High School in Minnesota, stayed in class. “Because I have yet to have heard many good ideas, the movement seems too vague for my liking,” Noah told CNN.
“And I would not like to associate myself with something I could end up disagreeing with in the future.”
Noah told reporters that he thought banning some guns would be “pretty cool.” Yet he understands that doing so is complicated. He spoke of the difficult task of accounting for all of the guns in the country. “I don’t think logistically it’s realistic.”
Austin Roth, a senior at Lapeer High School, also stayed behind. Roth is “100% supportive of those who choose to be in the national walkout to show they care about the lives lost in Florida and every other school shooting.”
He sees something larger behind the protests, though, that gives him pause. “I am not supportive of those who use a tragic event to push their political agendas, such as gun control,” he said.
— LHS Young Republicans (@LhsYoungRep) March 14, 2018
Roth describes himself as a “staunch Republican.” Roth, and others like him, gathered during the walkout to express their opinions.
“I do support federal background checks, (and) I’m not completely against raising the age to 21,” Roth added. “Guns are not the problem. The people are the problem.”
These two are a minority, for sure. There are others, though, who are using their time, treasure, and talents to make their opinions heard.
Logan Cole was wounded in a shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School last year.
“I feel like violence in our schools and in our society is a much deeper issue, and I feel like it’s a little bit simplistic to look at this and point out gun control as the problem,” he said.
Many others are joining the fight to defend their rights.
The Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb says there’s been a 1,200% jump in membership from those under 20.
“We normally don’t get that many members or donors in that age group, since the gun rights movement typically trends toward older Americans,” said Gottlieb. “But the 18- to 20-year-olds have never been specifically targeted before, and they are obviously alarmed.”
“This influx of young Americans into the gun rights movement is important, not just to respond to the current gun control threat, but as the movement has gotten older, it is encouraging to see so many young adults getting involved in support of Second Amendment rights,” he said.