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Letter to the editor: Student urges lawmakers to ban assault weapons

I am Chloe Clark, a 14-year-old who goes to Middlebury Union High School. On March 21, I was part of a group of seven girls who went up to the Statehouse to testify in front of the Vermont House and Senate Education Committees about school safety. This was my statement:
“I participated in the walkouts on Wednesday and Monday for two reasons: I strongly believe that the only way people can effectively make change is through speaking out, others listening to them and then spreading their message. So, in participating in these events, I wanted to say that I hear the voices of the friends and family of those lost in Parkland. I wanted to let the world know that I support them, and would share their message. And that’s the second reason: I wanted to speak out against gun violence in school.
“Don’t get me wrong. I understand the 2nd amendment, and I think that if you want to own a gun, that’s fine. Same with hunting. I think hunting is a great sport! But no one needs an AR-15, or any type of assault weapon for that matter. Outlawing these types of guns for civilian use is not only important, but necessary. As are background checks. I strongly believe that one of the main causes of this epidemic is that anyone, no matter their history, can so easily buy a gun.
“Because this isn’t a game. It’s not even just ‘an important issue.’ This is our lives we’re talking about. Children’s lives. So if kids are being shot so often, there’s something seriously wrong with our country. And a change needs to come. So please, I ask you, consider our thoughts and requests. Do not let this happen again.”
Since then, progress has been made toward passing S.55, a bill that would put many restrictions on the purchase of guns, but our task is not over. We cannot drop this fight now. I think everyone in America is scared — about everything, really. And you can’t shut that fear out, but you can use it. The thing is, how you use it is up to you. Although it is so easy to let fear and anger grow into ignorance and hatred, we cannot let that happen. So I urge everyone, if you care about this issue, if you care about the children of Vermont, to take whatever anger and fears you may have and put it to a good cause. Listen to others, try to understand others, respect others, love others. Please.
Chloe Clark
Middlebury

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