Like many schools across the nation, the halls of Alhambra High School, just outside Los Angeles, were buzzing with questions following the school shooting in Parkland.
What could they do? How could they stop this from happening again?
Teacher Jose Sanchez spent a lot of time helping students work through these questions during class.
Ultimately, he says, the students got tired of waiting for their legislators to introduce a gun control bill. So they decided to write their own.
The beginnings of the bill
The 32 students in Sanchez’s third period American government class started by researching current gun laws and various forms of political engagement. They decided the best way they could make a change is to write a resolution.
Student Eduardo Flores said the inspiration came from their frustration with the lack of any political initiative.
This week, for example, the White House announced a modest set of proposals that fall far short of the wide-ranging changes that President Trump promoted in February: such as, raising the minimum purchasing age on some guns or expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales – The administration announced Sunday it would launch a commission to study school violence and would look at ways to allow states to train teachers who wanted to carry guns.
“I feel like the politicians today, they acknowledge us and they say that they’re going to do something just to quiet us down,” Eduardo told CNN.
The Sandy Hook massacre had touched them, he said. But Parkland pushed them over the edge.
“We’re the next leaders of the nation so why not start now to make a change?”
The proposed resolution
The proposed resolution would raise the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 25 and require 14 days of gun training before purchase.
Additionally, it bans military-grade weapons and online weapon sales.
The resolution also calls for increased government funding of mental health services at schools and workplaces and continued background checks for gun buyers.
The next steps
The students spent weeks writing and editing the document and presented it to the Alhambra Democratic Club who voted unanimously to endorse it. The club says it will submit the endorsement to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
But the students weren’t satisfied with just one endorsement. They are scheduled to meet with their local Congresswoman Judy Chu next week and ask her to bring the resolution to the House floor.
The class is graduating in three weeks but student Sujit Gurung says that isn’t going to stop them from moving forward.
“We’re hoping we can get help from other people and support from people so it keeps going higher so we can really make a change.”