In the days and weeks since the horrifying tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School where the lives of 17 individuals were cut short, America has become divided over how little government regulation exists on gun control, and on the National Rifle Association’s questionable practices and collusion involving elected officials.
Among those advocating for stronger gun laws, are the survivors of the massacre at the high school in Parkland, Florida, who believe that firearms need to have more regulations that includes a ban on AR-15 rifles. It is worth noting that an AR-15 or an AR-15-modeled rifle is the same model rifle used at some of the deadliest shootings that have occurred over the past few years: 1) Stoneman Douglas massacre, 2) Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, 3) Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and 4) film screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado.
Those advocating for stricter gun laws also want a nationwide ban on bump stocks, a device that can rapidly increase the fire rate of semi-automatic weapons. A prime example of the use of this device was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.  
The opposing side argue that the Second Amendment outlines the ownership of a firearm as a fundamental American right; a right that should not be stripped from safe gun-owning Americans. The acts of either gun ownership or even occasionally collecting firearms, is of utmost importance and pride to those opposing stricter gun laws — with many claiming that arming teachers would reduce school shootings.
Yet, with ongoing discussion on gun control, and the state of Florida not banning assault rifles but raising the minimum age of purchase, students at Stoneman Douglas High School are becoming increasingly vocal and lending their voices towards public discourse on gun control. (Regardless of your political affiliation, you must admit that these teenagers survived a tragedy and their bravery and confidence in the face of such evil is worth commending.)
Students at Stoneman Douglas High School, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Sarah Chadwick and several others, have brought attention to companies supporting the NRA through either professional discounts or using NRA-based products such as NRA TV. Politico also reported that they received praise for their activism from late night hosts such as Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, Fallon describing their advocacy as “a real revolution.”

an image of Needville School District Superintendent Curtis Rhodes

Needville School District Superintendent Curtis Rhodes (chron)

Due to their efforts, schools across America are having students walk out of class, in solidarity for gun reform. Since skipping class is  considered truancy, schools are having to adjust to this. Not all schools are responding in the form of levying a punishment though. For instance, Riverview Gardens High School saw over 100 students walk out to protest against gun violence. The school did not allow those students to return for the remainder of the day. According to Denver-based CBS News, hundreds walked out of schools across Fort Collins, Colorado and each school honored the walkouts if parental permission was provided.
In the Lone Star State, schools are handling the walkouts with drastically different measures. The Austin Statesman reports that over 1,500 students walked out from at least five middle and high schools across Austin. Over in Houston’s Needville Independent School District, Superintendent Curtis Rhodes threatened any student wishing to walkout with a three-day suspension, stating that the punishment will be universal and parent notes will not suffice.
The debate over gun control has, and will continue to be, a divisive one. With growing activism among those who cannot yet vote, the debate will also be long lasting.

What are your thoughts on the gun control debate? Tell me on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.