Some students who support gun rights walked out of school on Wednesday in a coordinated event to “Stand for the Second.”
Lane Cooper, 16, is an 11th-grade student in the Schoharie Central School District in New York, and he was one of those who walked out of class.
He was part of a group of 22 students at his school Wednesday morning who recited the Pledge of Allegiance, held pro-Second Amendment signs, and talked about how the Second Amendment was about defending against tyrannical government or any other threats.
“I do think there are way too many gun control laws, especially in New York where I am,” he said.
The event was a rebuttal to the massive gun control walkouts in March, in which thousands of students left class across the country and called for universal background checks, limits on assault weapons and other policies to address gun violence in schools.
Those walkouts lasted 17 minutes – one minute to honor each of the 17 people killed in a mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
The pro-Second Amendment walkout on Wednesday was organized by Will Riley, a high school senior from New Mexico. The organization Tea Party Patriots also helped in the efforts, according to its website. Several hundred schools across the country planned to participate in the walkout, according to a map produced by the organizers.
“We believe, as did the founders, that a well-armed citizenry is necessary to the security of a free state,” the event’s website said. “We reject the notion that liberty should be traded for security, for we know we will have neither.”
What the students are saying
Dennis Fiorentinos, a student at California High School in San Ramon, California, organized a walkout for 10 a.m. Dozens of students, some holding American and “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, walked out with him.
He said his family does not own any guns, but he believed it was a right for all Americans.
“I believe that we have to show that kids of our generation aren’t all represented by those who have been in the media in the past for this issue,” he said. “I wanted to show that there are teenagers and kids out there that support the Second Amendment by saying that banning guns is not the answer.”
Braden Rich, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, Nebraska, wore a “Stand for the 2nd walkout” T-shirt at the walkout.
Not everyone who supports gun rights participated. Kyle Kashuv, a Stoneman Douglas student who survived the shooting and who has been vocal in his support of gun rights, said he was not joining the walkout.
“I don’t believe it is the correct thing to do. Disrupting 1000s of classrooms around the country isn’t the answer,” he said on Twitter. “There’s a time and place for civil disobedience, I just don’t believe that time is now. Instead, let’s all #WalkUp!”