Letter to the editor: Seventh-graders respect gun rights, but press reform

We are seventh-graders at Middlebury Union Middle School. Our names are Narges Anzali and Arianna Graham-Gurland, and we don’t want to be the next statistic. We believe in gun reform because even though people have the right to have guns, we also have the right to live to old age. We often lie awake and imagine the all too familiar scene of a school shooting happening at our school. The sobs, the screams, the frantic phone calls and texts, trying to find your friends and hoping that they are still alive.
On March 27, we had a “secure the building” drill at school. In the moment that they announced the drill, our hearts fell. We both looked around for our friends, grabbed their hands, and held tight as we rushed to the corner of the room. Even though we knew it was a drill, it still scared us. Because what if there is a day where it isn’t a drill? What if there is a day where you hear the rapid gunfire of a semi-automatic rifle rattling through the halls? What if one day the thoughts and prayers are directed toward us?
These are the reasons why we support gun reform. We both have beautiful siblings. We don’t want to have to worry about them when we see them off in the morning. We don’t want to always have to worry about whether we said we loved them before we left for school, because what if we don’t come back, or they don’t come back from school today? This is why we support gun reform.
We understand that many people in Vermont enjoy hunting and also want to protect their families, and we do respect that. We are not saying that we should ban all guns to the public. Hunting rifles for sport are fine. But you should not let anyone own a gun that can take 17 lives in 6 minutes. That is not OK. That is not just using something for sport. That is the ability to commit a mass murder in a matter of minutes, and it is happening more and more often.
We want more background checks. We want a longer waiting period to buy a gun. More background checks will not hurt anyone. We recognize that it will not stop all mass shooters, but at least it will put another barrier between a person with the intent to shoot up a school and a gun. It could also decrease the number of suicides and domestic violence deaths due to guns.
We want to stop worrying about living to see 30. The reason we are standing up for this is because we haven’t seen adults take action half as soon as we’ve wanted them to. We are your kids and the next generation. We don’t want politicians’ condolences as they accept checks from the NRA. We want to raise our voices for what we believe in, and we want our community to do it with us. We would like to thank all the Vermont Representatives who have listened to our voices and helped pass a gun reform bill. We need our leaders in the Vermont Senate, Gov. Scott and Congress in Washington to also listen to our voices and make more gun reform possible. We would also like to thank all the people who are reading this for listening to our voices and being willing to expand your views.
Arianna Graham-Gurland and Narges Anzali

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