Local Students and Educators React to Shootings & Talk Gun Control

Bismarck - After one of the deadliest school shootings in modern U.S. history, students across the nation are speaking up about what can be done to make a change.

Emily Medalen spent time with some local students to hear out their concerns. 
After 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to kill and injure 31 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida,

Students from that community are speaking up about gun control policies. 
Many of these Parkland students are pushing for stricter gun laws...
But as a reflection of the debate we're seeing on Capitol hill - students and teachers in our region don't quite know what the best solution may be. 
"It's becoming almost a recurring thing now... it's like, who's next?" says Austin Hartman, Senior, Shiloh Christian High School.

18 shootings in the U.S. this year have sparked nationwide controversy.

"These things are scary. We cannot minimize them. We have to be proactive," says Sara Mitzel, Principal, Shiloh Christian High School.
What started in a high school hallway just like this one, has led to a new, more aggressive conversation about what should be done about school safety. 
And the answer to that questions changes from person to person.
"People and authorities need to be armed. Having guns in schools would be a good thing, I think," says Hartman. 
"I don't know if it's going to make kids feel any safer knowing that there's already a gun in the school," says Bobbie Young, School Counselor, Shiloh Christian High School.
"Having doors locked, going through the procedures, having all the students and all the teachers know what they're supposed to be doing," says Stephanie Jorritsma, Senior, Shiloh Christian High School.

While many Florida students push for tighter gun control, high schoolers in our neck of the woods point to mental health as the root of the problem.

"I don't really think it's the guns that are the problem, I think there's going to be bad people everywhere, and whether or not they can legally have guns... it's not going to take away that they can get guns," says Brittan Grubb, Senior, Shiloh Christian High School.
"There are people who will make bad decisions no matter what resources they have available to them," says Jorritsma.

Another heavy topic recently, is how easy it is for citizens to obtain semiautomatic rifles, like the AR-15 used to kill 17 students last week.
One more grey area that many can't agree on.

"Guns like those are used for competition and stuff, so it's not just to go out to kill," says Hartman.
"We should be stricter on those, just because of the power we have, and the damage they can do, says Grubb."
Regardless of opposing views on topics like gun control...
Many who I spoke to agreed on one thing.

"People just need to come together more often," says Hartman.
"Recognizing those signs. Being available. Finding them help so that we can be more proactive, rather than reactive," says Mitzel.

This is a very sensitive topic that is starting a lot of heated debate in our country right now. 

One positive that's coming from this is many schools are having conversations with students about safety measures, and mental health issues.
Shiloh Christian is having a practice lockdown today to make sure everyone knows the protocols in place.

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