Students voice gun control views

Wisconsin case sparks new conversations

De Anza High School students have strong opinions about gun control and about recent cases across the United States in which guns were utilized. 

Firearms have been a cause of political conflict in the United States going back centuries to the inclusion of the Second Amendment into the Constitution.

The recent and repeated spate of killing by guns has created new pressure on lawmakers to enact laws restricting the accessibility and usage of guns. Nothing has been done so far. 

A recent spark to this conversation has been the Kyle Rittenhouse case. Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old male who fatally shot two people and wounded a third protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020. Rittenhouse claimed that he was in fear for his life when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and shot and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 26.

Prosecutors said that Rittenhouse, then underage, had willingly chosen to carry a deadly assault-style rifle into a dangerous environment and had murdered two people and injured another in a reckless manner. However, his lawyers claimed Rittenhouse had acted self-defense. 

 “Legal experts said prosecutors relied too heavily on video evidence that was difficult to interpret and witnesses who offered testimony that at times seemed to bolster Rittenhouse’s case,” according to an article from National Public Radio.

The jury ruled in favor of the defendant, acquitting Rittenhouse of all charges. This caused a lot of stir of controversy among observers across the country.

My classmates at De Anza High School have formed their own opinions on the matter. I presented 12 students with the question, “Do you agree with the jury’s decision?” All 12 students firmly chose to disagree with the acquittal. 

Taran Madhar, a De Anza junior, said that “self-defense was far-fetched and not exactly applicable.” While he believes that the ruling was incorrect, his opinion on gun rights is still undecided. 

To my next question, “Should guns be banned from sale,” only eight De Anza students answered “yes.” The primary reasoning for the people who answered “no” was to provide self-defense against those already owning guns. 

I prompted another De Anza junior, Evan Browne, with the question “What steps do you think we can take in gun control, and do you think the Second Amendment protects the right to carry guns in public?” 

Browne believes that the first step in gun control would be increasing the difficulty of getting a gun permit. He thinks “carrying guns in public is unnecessary and shouldn’t be allowed by an amendment meant primarily for self-defense of one’s own property.” He explained that although self-defense rights must be protected, there should be laws designated “to lower the amount of murders.” 

Students at De Anza High School have developed their own interpretations of gun rights and recent gun cases. Many agree that gun control needs to be tightened.