Why are we relying on 18th-century laws to regulate 21st-century weapons? I’m not here to say that you shouldn’t have the right to bear arms. I am simply stating that the founding fathers had absolutely no way of foreseeing the evolution of weaponry. An 18th-century musket, on average, fired two to three rounds per minute. That is if a soldier actually knew what he was doing. But let’s take a look at a fully automated AR-15 style weapon that can be legally purchased today. It can fire 750 to 900 rounds per minute making it one of the most commonly used weapons in mass shootings. Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster XM-15 (an AR-15 style rifle) to murder 20 children and six adults in only 11 minutes at Sandy Hook Elementary. Stephen Paddock legally obtained a multitude of guns as well as bump stocks that allowed his semi-automatic rifles to function as fully-automatic rifles which resulted in the death of 58 people and the injury of over 400 in Las Vegas.
Statistics aside, we have managed to evolve into a much more advanced society that is growing by the minute and I am proud and grateful to be living in the country that I am in today. But even so, I am hesitant to walk into school or go to a movie. Every time I go to a concert, I look for the closest exit in case things go awry. And I know I’m not alone, lots of my peers have that fear, some teachers even. Is that ever going to end? Am I going to be able to walk into school and fear that I’ll fail a test rather than fear that I won’t make it home that day? Or will we succumb to the shootings that society may eventually consider normal? I know my answer. No.
We will no longer live in fear because it’s our Congress’, politicians’, and our President’s duty to keep us safe. And the way to do that is through common sense gun laws. Ban bump stocks and assault weapons. Promote stronger and more efficient background checks that keep weapons out of the hands of people like Columbine High School shooters Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris. Vote out politicians who accept the NRA’s bribes and blood money. Enough is enough. We will no longer sit back and watch our peers get slaughtered. We are here to make a change and we’re not going anywhere.
Ariel, 16, is a sophomore at Centennial High School and one of the organizers of March For Our Lives Atlanta, a youth-led, nonpartisan call for common sense gun legislation.
The march will kickoff at 11 a.m. this Saturday, March 24, at the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
The youth organizers of March For Our Lives Atlanta are speaking up through VOX. To share your voice, your story, your opinion, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here. Include your age and school if applicable, and we’ll email you back if we have questions.
Photo: Ariel (pictured), Richterkessing Photography