The student news site of the University of WI - Eau Claire

UW-Eau Claire joins in nationwide gun violence walkout

April 24, 2018

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was one of approximately 2,600 schools across the nation to participate in a campus walkout for gun reform on Friday, April 20. This date marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, which resulted in 15 fatalities.

UW-Eau Claire’s walkout was put together by The Catalysts, a recently formed student organization on campus with initiatives of education, awareness and reform, according to their Facebook page.

Students gathered within the campus mall Friday morning before a peaceful march through campus. Marchers held homemade signs and chanted for gun reform, such as “no more silence, end gun violence” and “enough is enough.”

Two other nationwide marches took place last month. The #Enough! National School Walkout organized by Women’s March Youth Empower was on March 14 and the national March for Our Lives demonstration, organized by Never Again MSD, was on March 24.

History of National Gun Violence

There have been 11 mass shootings in schools since 1999, according to The Washington Post.

The most recent mass school shooting left 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

At least 150,000 students across 170 different primary and secondary schools have experienced a school

Students carried signs with various anti-gun violence slogans as they marched across the UW-Eau Claire campus in a nationwide walkout on Friday, April 20. The date marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. © 2018 Nicole Bellford

shooting of some kind since the Columbine shooting, The Washington Post reported.

In high income nations 91 percent of gun-related deaths of children under the age of 15 occured in the United States, according to the American Journal of Medicine. More gun-related fatalities occurred among the nation’s youth demographic in 2016 (1,637) than in any previous year from the past millennium.

Gun violence affects people of color even more than youth in schools. People of color are almost twice as likely to die from gun violence in the United States compared to the white population, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported.

Legislation and the NRA

Despite the nationwide response to gun violence in schools, Congress has not passed any gun reform legislation. But a bill was signed into effect to allocate $50 million a year to improve school security infrastructure and preventative training for students, teachers and law enforcement.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on March 14 in a bipartisan vote of 407-10. Congress voted in favor of the bill as well and Trump signed it into effect on March 23 as part of an omnibus funding bill.

The bill does not, however, include any gun control policy changes.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has played a major role in the discussion of gun control policies on Capitol Hill throughout the past decade. The NRA provides campaign incentives to political candidates in exchange for their support of the Second Amendment, according to The New York Times. The NRA assigns “letter grades” to political candidates based on their stance toward gun control, determining their efforts to support or oppose the candidate.

Rather than spending large amounts supporting candidates, the NRA funds “blunt-force” methods against candidates that call for gun control. For example, The New York Times reported that the NRA spent nearly $20 million in the 2016 presidential election on campaign tactics that urged voters to “reject Hillary Clinton” while spending half that amount on contributions to the Trump campaign.

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