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National Walkout Day draws students to state capitol

Young Dems go to capitol in solidarity with local high school students

David Huff, Young Dem.JPG

ASU political science sophomore and member of ASU Young Democrats David Huff poses for a photo at the state capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

On the afternoon of March 14, the state capitol was consumed by energy from students, teachers, parents and politicians coming together to advocate for increased gun control in light of recent high-profile school shootings.

ASU's Young Democrats came to the protest to show support and admiration for a group of Valley high school students slated to give a press conference later in the afternoon.

"The threat (of gun violence) at ASU is still there," said Young Democrats member Ethan Buhrow, a freshman political science major. 

Buhrow said at the protest that he was inspired by the collaboration of ASU students and politically active Valley high schoolers seeking action against "the rapid gun violence that is plaguing our country."

He said his mother is an educator, and his younger sister is still in high school, so he felt the need to back the young protestors.

Students across the nation walked out in support of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Floria, which experienced a school shooting which left 17 students and faculty dead last month.

David Huff, a sophomore political science major and Young Democrats member, said it's important to be involved in the protest in order to "show solidarity." 

He said he shared opinions of firearm usage with the protestors, even though his opinion is different from those of his family. Both of his parents are registered Democrats, but his father is a proud supporter of the NRA, and his grandfather is a registered Republican.

Even with the influence of his politically diverse family, Huff said he believes gun reform is the only viable course of action for the government.

Huff said that the current safety of schools, or lack thereof, "should be the number one issue for legislatures."

Buhrow said he was concerned by "the fact that everyday you have to think, 'What if that happened to my school?', 'Is my school next?', 'Am I going to die getting an education today?'." 

ASU arts faculty Liz Allen, who was at the protest, said that ASU is "an institution of higher learning where people are encouraged to express their unique opinions and argue their conflicting points of view."

But she said that "if someone is known to have a gun in an environment, it could be viewed as a threat to others. It doesn't encourage learning at the highest level."

Not everybody in the ASU community is on board for tighter gun control within the state.

Judah Waxelbaum, freshman political science major and director of membership within ASU's College Republicans club, said he didn't support any of the gun control measures proposed at the protest. 

"I don't agree with most forms of gun control," said Waxelbaum. "Our Second Amendment is very clear."

Waxelbaum's opinion on "common-sense gun legislation" differs from many millennials his age, he said.

"I don't think there should realistically be any range of gun-free zones," he said. "Schools should have just as much protection as my bank."

State Press reporter Ryan Hood contributed to this story.

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