How the “Right to Bear Arms” Affects Students


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High School students gather to protest gun violence and demand change.

In America, owning and carrying a weapon with you is a basic human right; people feel safe when they know they can protect themselves against possible harm. They keep their guns in cabinets, safes, or even under their beds.

In California, all anyone needs to legally purchase a firearm is a background check, a valid ID, and no past felonies. Despite these measures, there are multiple loopholes which allow people to acquire guns without going through a background check. These include private sellers who do not have a gun dealing license and the Charleston Loophole which allows for the sale of a firearm to go through after three days even if a background check has not been completed yet. 

With a method this easy, based on the CHDS Database, California is one of the states with the highest number of mass and school shootings. According to the same data, in 2021, 227 people were killed or wounded in the U.S., and 318 in 2022 alone as the number of school shootings skyrocketed. For students and staff, this means having lockdown and evacuation drills in order to be prepared. For parents this means being in fear of their child not returning home one day. 

Students are taught to gather in a safe place in the classroom, get ready to barricade the door in case they need to, and fight with everything they can. They see the faces of other students lost to school shootings: high school students, middle school students, and even elementary students. They are sometimes titled “heroes” for being shields or being brave enough to fight back, but since most students have not experienced this directly, they are left with fear.

On October 18, 2022, Glendale High School students lived through this fear as the P.A. system was heard throughout the school, warning them of an alleged person with a gun on the school premise. Students quickly ran outside, hoping that they wouldn’t be the next one to end up on the news. 

Mane Temuryan, a junior at Glendale High School, had just come out of seventh period when she noticed everybody running outside. “I saw kids yelling at us from classrooms, telling us, ‘Run, get out, there’s a guy with a gun!’ That is when I really started panicking,” said Temuryan. The teachers followed all protocols of lockdown and the security guards tried to get everyone they could outside. 

Since she was out already, Temuryan’s first thought was to call and make sure her friends were safe. “I was shaking, at the edge of breaking down… I even wanted to call and say goodbye to my parents and that I loved them” said Temuryan. During the panic, GHS students could recall all the times they’d heard of students randomly being shot and killed.

Although the incident turned out to be an armed robbery next to the school, during the incident which felt like hours, GHS students, their parents, and their friends who they texted were experiencing the consequences of a decision that has taken many lives already.

Schools are supposed to be safe places for students to be educated. Something needs to be done, laws need to be changed, and students need to feel protected.