Youth in revolt: Students demand common-sense gun reform at walkouts across boro

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Taking control: Young activists swarmed Borough Hall waving signs and reciting chants demanding common-sense gun legislation one month to the day that a shooter killed 17 people at a Florida high school.
Skipped to make a statement: Students at the four schools within Park Slope’s John Jay Educational Campus joined the borough-wide rally to reform firearm legislation.
Signs of the times: Activists’ signs criticized lawmakers who put campaign contributions before childrens’ safety.
Baby steps: Pint-sized protestors from Park Slope’s PS 321 marched with their peers as part of the student-led walkouts.
Arms up: A student from Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge joined Wednesday’s borough-wide demonstrations.
Cry for peace: A young activist shouted calls for change at a an after-school rally following the morning walkouts hosted by Borough President Adams.
Absent activism: Edward R. Murrow High School freshmen Tasia Alam, left, and Lily Cohen joined in Wednesday’s walkout.
Gate keepers: Edward R. Murrow High School students placed signs condemning gun violence on the school’s gates.

These kids get an A in activism.

Thousands of students rallied for stricter gun laws during school walkouts across the borough on Wednesday — one month to the day that a gunman killed 17 people when he opened fire inside a Florida high school.

“Enough is enough — I want my voice to be heard,” said Tyler Ovenden, a senior at Brooklyn Tech. “There are all these shootings, and no one has spoken up.”

Impassioned pupils from the Fort Greene high school joined kids from Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, PS 321 and the four schools within the John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope, Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge, Midwood’s Edward R. Murrow High School, and other borough learning houses at demonstrations across Kings County.

Participants in the 17-minute walkouts — which were timed to reflect the number of lives lost in Florida, but went on for much longer in many cases — brandished signs and shouted chants demanding common-sense gun legislation, including new laws to ensure assault weapons, such as the semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle the 19-year-old Florida shooter used in his deadly rampage, don’t fall into the wrong hands.

And some young protestors expressed fears that their classrooms could become future targets if legislators do not act.

“As a student, the situation is very scary,” said Tasia Alam, a freshman at Edward R. Murrow. “I would hate to see myself in that situation, and gun control is being handled in a very poor manner.”

The rallies followed President Trump’s decision earlier this week to disavow his previous pledge to push for tighter gun laws and instead move toward a National Rifle Association–backed proposal to arm and train teachers who could defend students during an attack.

But the last thing many local students want is more firearms in classrooms, according to another Brooklyn Tech teen, who said even his educators recoiled at the thought.

“I don’t want my teachers to have guns,” said Nicolas Killmer. “Even my teachers don’t want to have guns.”

Borough President Adams, who led students and other residents in an after-school rally at the Prospect Park Bandshell that followed many of the morning walkouts, urged Brooklynites to stay vigilant in their fight for lasting reform.

“Now is that moment. We must do something about guns,” he said. “This rally is just the beginning of a movement for national change on this critical issue.”

And Mayor DeBlasio returned to Kings County to join the walkout at Edward R. Murrow, where he also spoke about the need to tighten gun regulations.

But despite Hizzoner’s involvement, kids who participated in the demonstration at the public high school were still marked absent from class, according to Alam, who said she would have appreciated a free pass from the leaders of the city’s education system.

“I would have done it either way, but I would prefer if I wasn’t marked absent,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:47 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
That's what we need! More laws that are never enforced!
March 14, 2018, 3:04 pm
No Smarter from NYC says:
This generation is no smarter than the last.

They haven't figured out that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Should we also ban planes and cars now that they're being used as weapons?

And as long as we don't focus on the real issues like mental illness and bulling, we get no closer towards solving the problem.

Stop following the crowd and start thinking for yourself.
March 15, 2018, 1:16 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Yes, we should ban cars, No-Smarts. Or at least severely curtail their use.

How brave of you to think for yourself by repeating the same lazy canards I've heard my entire life. The argument is even dumber now than it was then because we have so many more years of experience of knowing what works.
March 15, 2018, 10:23 am
Tyler from pps says:
Good to see the "intelligentsia" is in full force in the comments this morning...
March 15, 2018, 11:32 am
History Guy from Park Slope says:
Hey No Smarter...what's more imaginable, "Man walks into a school with a knife and kills 17", or "Man walks into a school with a semi-automatic rifle and kills 17"? The question lays bare your comment that guns don't kill psychopaths do, especially psychopaths armed with automatic weapons...that's the point these students are trying to make. And by the way, you're not on the front line, they are.
March 20, 2018, 8:19 pm

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