Students Speak Out on Gun Violence Prevention, Find No ‘Easy Answer’

In the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the NewsHour asked students from 45 schools around the country to provide advice on how to prevent future shootings at schools. Ray Suarez presents some of these high schoolers’ takes on the gun debate, which were collected through NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs.

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    In the wake of the Newtown massacre, the NewsHour asked students from the 45 schools participating in our Student Reporting Labs project about ways to prevent the next school shooting.

    Here is a sampling of what they said.


    Well, all these kids and all of these adults, a lot of adults that are hurting people, it's because they have access to the guns. So I feel like they just need to tighten up the system and change the rules about gun regulations.


    In West Virginia, we're all hunters here, so everybody's concerned about, you know, they're going to take our guns away. And, honestly, that's not the solution. You know, when you couldn't make alcohol before, they still did it. People will still have guns, no matter what you do. So, really, all you can do is just raise awareness and to hope that this doesn't happen again.


    I would hate to say it, but just gun control period. Yes, I understand that, in our Constitution, it says we have the right to bear arms, but who are we giving the arms out to?

    So when it comes to schools, I would say institute metal detectors, but that will cost a lot of money, but at least check the people who are coming in.


    Probably, the most common conversation a lot of people are having is the one I have been having with a lot of my friends and my family. That's a little friendly debate going on about gun laws, should they be stricter, should they not be stricter? Do guns kill people, or do people kill people, or do people with guns kill people?

    I think that's the conversation I have had with a lot of my friends. It's brought up a lot of different, interesting viewpoints. They realize it's not just a black-and-white situation.


    Well, to prevent this from happening again, I guess schools could enforce more security and stricter gun laws.

    But I think, more importantly, that the United States needs to handle mental illness better, because it's not like your average people just doing this. It's people that have something wrong with them.


    With over 30 school shootings, it's vital that we come up with a nonlethal way to have a defense system for our teachers and students.

    We could come — we could have a box that is similar to a fire extinguisher box that, when you open it, an alarm will sound, and it will go to both the — throughout the school and the police stations. And in it could be a defense system, like bear spray or something as strong. With something like this, the shooting in Connecticut could have been stopped a lot sooner.


    I don't even know how to — I really don't know how there is. I don't know how to prevent to school shootings. There's really no just one right way to do it. There's no wrong way to do it. But — because really, anyone, you never know. You never know who somebody is or what somebody is capable of.

    And no matter what safety precautions, things in the world still happen. And I would love to say that there's just an easy answer for them to save it, so then there's no other kids that will ever die in a school. But there's really — that's not possible. It's not going to happen.


    Those were the voices of young people from our Student Reporting Labs project. You can learn how they first found out about the tragedy and their initial reactions. Watch that on our website.