Across the country, young people are demanding that the government do more to establish gun safety. We are not safe in a land where people not old enough to buy a beer can buy an assault rifle, and where basic background checks are undermined by a crazy quilt of loopholes. We are not safe in a land where the government’s response to violence is to call for more people to be armed.
I will never forget when Wesleyan student Johanna Justin-Jinich was murdered by a man plagued by deep mental illness who had access to a deadly weapon. Our grief, terror and horror during those days ten years ago made an indelible mark on me and so many of us connected to this campus.
We will never forget, but can we actually turn our memories of gun violence into political engagement to promote robust gun safety? The students from Parkland, the families of the children killed at Sandy Hook, and so many others around the country show us that we can: we can mobilize our political energies to demand sensible gun safety laws. This starts by ensuring that we reject the reciprocal concealed carry permit legislation that has been making its way through Congress (with legislative tracks greased by NRA funds), and it must continue in developing common sense safety regulations on firearms. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is a strong advocate on these issues.
University Chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska has let me know that there is a march in Hartford on March 24 for which we could organize transportation. Here’s some info about it. CT Against Gun Violence is an organization that can provide more information on the issues. Tracy tells me it is often organizing groups to go to Hartford for various legislative initiatives.
How will we respond to the latest outbreak of gun violence? Students across the country are showing the way.
Update from University Admissions:
Wesleyan students have a proud tradition of civic engagement, and the university supports students’ rights to peaceful protest. The admission committee reviews the details of any suspension reported by an applicant, and a suspension for peaceful protest on issues of public concern would not impact an admission decision in any way.