Amidst mass shootings and fierce debate, students stage nationwide walk-outs protesting gun violence

WASHINGTON —  Thousands of students staged school walkouts across the US to march for their lives and to protest gun violence on Wednesday.

“It’s just this like grave realization that like it can happen to any of us. And that’s why we’re enraged and that’s why we want action to be done,” said high schooler Oliver Goldman.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump held a listening session at the White House.

“I was reading today that a person, 20 years old, walked into a store and bought an AR-15 in five minutes, with an expired ID. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How are we not stop this, after Columbine, after Sandy Hook?” said survivor Samuel Zeif.

President Trump, who was receptive to the idea of raising the legal age to own a gun to 21, responded with an idea that arming teachers and coaches is an option.

“It’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun free zone,” Trump said. “Gun free zone, to a maniac — because they’re all cowards, a gun free zone is, ‘let’s go in and let’s attack.”

But some Filipinos in New Jersey say arming teachers is not the answer.

For a parent of a seventh grader, Sonny Maranan questions the accessibility of guns especially to teens.

“Kung makakakuha sila, may magagamit sila, pag meron silang hawak na ganun, parang binibigyan mo sila ng power na to do something bad,” he says.

While the National Rifle Association sends its prayers to the victims, NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre says boosting school security is the answer to prevent school shootings.

“It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store or some Hollywood gala. To stop a bad guy with a gun,  it takes a good guy with a gun

Students activists believe that now is the time for legislative action and that the NRA is the problem.

But at the end of the day, one Filipino says the ultimate power to make legislators act on gun violence lies in the hands of the voters come November.

“Kung align siya sayo iboboto ko siya, kung hindi siya align sa aking ano, hinid ko siya iboboto,” said Rufino Umali from Montclair.

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