WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Students at Webster Thomas High School staged a walkout Thursday afternoon to take a stand against gun violence.
The students who organized the walkout said they could no longer sit quiet about the ‘unspeakable’ amount of people dying across the nation from mass shootings that stem from a lack of gun control.
“I feel like every single day, I become more [worried] every single day, you know? You hear it’s like in the cafeteria sometimes [you’re like] ‘was that something dangerous, was it someone popping a bag of chips?,'” said Webster-Thomas student Keira Heslor. “You’re just always thinking, it’s always in the back of my mind and it feels like it’s coming closer to the front of my mind now as all these school shootings keep happening.”
Students also said that nearly the entire school came out for the walkout and are afraid to go to school due to the recent surge of shootings.
“Honestly, I was a little surprised I was not expecting most of this school to join in,” said Webster-Thomas student Molly Sweeney. “It kind of restored my faith in humanity a little bit, I was not expecting that it was really cool.”
Police officers are stationed at the high school, but students said that there is more than can be done for safety in terms of gun control.
A week ago, Fairport High School students held a public demonstration along Potter Park to voice a demand for stricter gun control.
Fairport junior Lily Jones said with mass shootings, thoughts and prayers just aren’t enough.
“And this definitely isn’t going to be the only protest. Because we can’t make change with just one. We need to keep it going and be consistent,” Jones said.
The student protests follow a recent wave of violence throughout the country:
- 10 Black people were killed and three others were injured in a mass shooting on May 14 at a Buffalo grocery store.
- 19 young children and two teachers were killed, with 17 others wounded, in a mass shooting on May 24 later at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
- On Wednesday, a gunman shot and killed four people at a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In response to the recent mass shootings, top New York lawmakers have proposed 10 new gun control measures that would raise the age requirement for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle, ban the purchase of body armor for most civilians, make threatening mass harm a crime, and more.
Beyond the state level, Congress is prepared to put its stamp on gun legislation too.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to advance legislation that would raise the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21. The bill would make it a federal offense to import, manufacture or possess large-capacity magazines and would create a grant program to buy back such magazines. It also builds on the executive branch’s ban on bump-stock devices and so-called ghost guns that are privately made without serial numbers.