Radford University Protests Gun Violence

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Tristan Blake Rines | trines@radford.edu

On a cold and windy 25 degrees morning, nearly two hundred Radford University students, faculty, and staff gathered at the campus fountain in a peaceful protest to push for gun reform.

The Women’s March Youth Empower: #ENOUGH National School Walkout has garnered massive amounts of attention as students, and teachers protest against gun violence in cities all across the United States.

What triggered this walkout was by the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 students were gunned down by a student wielding an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle over a month ago.

The Radford University event on campus was organized by the Women’s Studies Club, NextGen, and the Radford University Young Democrats.

Their original plan was to have students exit class at 10 am and meet at the fountain by 10:05 am to begin reading the names of people who had been killed in school shootings from Columbine to Parkland.

By 10:15 am, the event would conclude with voter registration forms being passed around to those who had not registered to vote to get more people to get involved with the political process in the area.

At 10:17 am students and faculty were to then return to their original classrooms or offices and proceed with the rest of their day.

Patricia Ramirez, a Radford freshman from Weston, Florida helping with the event, said, “It is amazing that so many people showed up on such a gloomy and sad day. This is something that I really care about, but Radford is a school that’s fourteen hours away, it is really amazing that so many people care.”

Many protestors felt that the point was primarily focused on sending a message that there should be comprehensive gun reform passed. A couple of the ideas being thrown in the air include; potentially changing the age in which someone is allowed to legally purchase a weapon or increasing background checks on potential gun owners.

“Every voice matters, every person can make a difference,” said Radford University junior, and NextGen member Geoffrey Preudhomme.

With nearly 200 students, faculty and staff braving the snow and wind to stand up against gun violence, the campus community certainly made its voice heard.

“I think it is incredible that Radford students are so passionate about wanting to see a change,” said David Horton, Manager of Communication and Outreach for the College of Science and Technology. “I think it is time to have a serious discussion about what can be done to stop these school shootings and gun reform is a huge part of that,” Horton added.

President of the United States Donald Trump has even recently been considering alternative methods to stop gun violence in schools. Considering a highly controversial way which would arm high school teachers who have participated in specialized training to, “fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions,” the President tweeted out on Feb. 22nd.

Since Columbine in 1999, over 220 students and faculty have been killed by gun violence on school grounds. Students and faculty at Radford University, as well as all around the country, are standing up against gun violence, and are demanding change.

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Photo Credit: (Hailey Scherer-Photography Manager, Tristan Blake Rines-Contributing Writer)