Student gun safety concerned nationwide

Owen Pelkey, Writer

Last month, Newsela conducted a poll that reached over 25,000 students across the country. 3,500 schools from every state, including Washington D.C., participated, ending in well-thought out and meaningful poll results.

Newsela is a news outlet for current events stories that is specifically made for the classroom. Many schools find this useful, as it offers articles that can be changed from a 5th grade reading level to a high school reading level all for the same article.

Within Newsela’s poll, they found that a majority of students supported proposed gun control measures, with only 24 percent of students not support the measures.

The poll comes in time for the beginning of the March For Our Lives movement, that was sparked after the unfortunate events that occurred in Parkland, FL in February, and taking place only days before the national March For Our Lives movements took place all over the country.

“Gun laws in the United States should be stricter,” states the first question of the poll.
The results reveal that an overwhelming 67 percent of students either agree or strongly agree with the statement, while 26 percent of students disagree or strongly disagree, and 7 percent of students are unsure.

It’s possible that the recent trend in school shootings has had an effect on the opinions of current day high school students. These shootings could leave students feeling unsafe in an environment that is meant for learning and understanding, rather than fear and anxiety.

“Bump stocks (devices that can make semi-automatic guns shoot faster) should be banned,” states the second question.
57 percent of students answered that they agree or strongly agree with this statement, 24 percent of students disagree or strongly disagree, and about 19 percent of students are unsure.
The amount of students who are unsure seemed to raise for this question, as it’s possible that the amount of students educated on the matter of guns, or more specifically bump stocks, are much less.

Despite the 19 percent remaining unsure, still over half of students agreed with the statement, which is telling about the impact of the March For Our Lives movement on student lives today.

“Teachers should be allowed to carry licensed guns to school to protect their students,” reads the third question.

Only 28 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, 55 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 17 percent were unsure about it.

With a majority of students feeling that gun control laws should be stricter, they could feel that putting more guns into the school system would, instead of making them feel safer, result in more possibilities of being harmed at school.

However, 28 percent of students still feel that giving guns to teachers would give the chance for more protection, and decrease the likelihood of mass shootings taking place within the school systems.

“The minimum age to buy assault weapons should be raised from 18 to 21 years old,” stated the fourth question.

Another overwhelming response, 67 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, 24 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, and only 9 percent of students were left unsure.

Raising the minimum age requirement could, in theory, reduce the amount of gun owners throughout the United States. With allowing less people to buy guns until they meet the requirement, some students might feel that putting less guns into the hands of citizens in the country, it could decrease the amount of mass shootings in the country.

However, the other 24 percent could feel that 18 is the necessary age to be able to purchase an assault weapon. Other actions, like buying cigarettes, voting, and getting a tattoo, are all allowed for 18 year olds to do. Some might feel that purchasing assault weapons fits into this category.

The final question asked in the poll, was about the likelihood of the student attending a protest or writing a letter to a congressperson about the gun regulations or Second Amendment rights.
44 percent of students responded that they already have or were likely to do so, 31 percent of students answered that it was unlikely, with 25 percent of students being unsure.

With a controversial topic like this one, it’s more important than ever to be able to voice an opinion, whether it be through protest, letter, or another mode.

Overall, the Newsela poll seemed to reveal that a large majority of students are ready for a change in gun control laws within the government, and many of those students are willing to do something themselves to make a difference.

With it being almost two months after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, the March For Our Lives movement isn’t giving any indication of slowing down, and students continue to be more passionate than ever about the topic of gun control.