I was sitting in Instructor Mike Jaeger’s Theory of Knowledge class ready to be given a presentation and relax in my seat. But, today’s topic caught my attention. I still remember the exact words that left Jaeger’s mouth. “The Michigan Senate recently passed a bill that would allow people with a concealed carry permit to bring guns to school.” Immediately, I felt my heart race for just a second and then relax. It was unexpected. Never have I had a reason to feel scared in a classroom before. But now, just the idea of guns being in school has threatened this security.
Senate Bill 0584 has recently been passed by the Michigan State Senate and, if made into law, would allow people with a permit to conceal carry in currently gun-free zones, including places like bars and schools. The current minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit is 21; however, in the slew of gun bills attempting to be passed by the Michigan State Congress, this may be lowered to just 18. This means seniors in Michigan high schools could legally be carrying guns to school in the near future.
West Ottawa has always been a safe place. There’s never been a reason for students to feel scared for their life. But, when an 18 year old is carrying around a gun in school, suddenly students don’t feel so secure. “I would be nervous if students were able to have guns at school because you don’t know what could happen. Anything could go wrong,” Sr. Jayden VanMaurick said.
Ironically, this fear is exactly what lawmakers are trying to prevent by passing this bill. They want people to feel safe by having the option to defend themselves. But for a lot of students, this means the exact opposite. This means that the students people fear carrying a gun will now be given the right to. So, not only might the weapons end up in the wrong hands, but no one will try to stop it from happening.
Also, arming students with the same weapon they are trying to combat against is like fighting fire with fire; it only leads to escalation. “I think it’s a bad idea to pass the bill, but if they do, I’ll bring my own gun to school,” Sr. Logan Reimink said.
Fearing for their safety, students like Reimink resort to the same behavior they’ve previously detested. It’s the only way to compensate for their lack of security. So, when weapons are used to increase security, it ultimately creates a sense of insecurity, causing a need for weapons to make up for the lack of security. When will this escalation end? Until something terrible happens? Why wait until then?
The terrors of guns have continued to haunt us through mass shooting after mass shooting. And the solution is to make access to them easier? It seems insane because it is.
The major responsibility of carrying a gun, especially in schools, can not be handled lightly. Anyone who carries a gun has the option to end a life. Many students doubt that 18 year olds can uphold this major responsibility in school’s extremely social and unpredictable environment. “Guns don’t belong in schools, especially among students because they have no self control,” Jr. Drew Smyk said.
Student interactions can be chaotic and capricious. Often, students will try to impress each other with wild and erratic behavior. When given access to guns, these harmless interactions can turn much more dangerous. Students will push the boundaries of safety in order to gain approval from their friends. In a world where guns are in school, this will be a prevalent issue.
Putting guns in classrooms is a bad idea for many reasons; it makes students feel unsafe, increases the risk of major accidents, and put life-ending tools in the hands of irresponsible adolescents. The otherwise hospitable environment that school presents will be tarnished with danger at every corner. How can something intended to increase safety and security cause so much insecurity? Obviously, it isn’t accomplishing what it’s intended to accomplish.
If you want to raise your voice and do your part to prevent these bills from becoming law, follow the links below to locate and contact your local state representative (top) and senator (below). Make a difference.