Students at the University of Arizona just started a chapter of Students Demand Action, a nationwide organization where high school and college students advocate for the end of gun violence.
Co-Presidents Ryan Hicks and Mary Cline, both UA sophomores, collaborated on starting the chapter this past fall, and the club was recognized by ASUA in January.
“I was in a school shooting in high school,” Hicks said. “When I got to the UA there were no resources for school shooting survivors. I wanted to start a safe space for people who have survived gun violence.”
This organization is not only a safe space for those who have been affected firsthand by gun violence, but also for those who are wanting to advocate for change within the state and national government, and specifically on campus.
“A lot of us are really accustomed to hearing about mass shootings,” Cline said. “Right now, we're channeling this sense of anger and frustration into action. This means talking about it honestly, and also writing to lawmakers advocating for common sense gun safety laws.”
Most recently, both Hicks and Cline have been in contact with local lawmakers about the possible passing of the Arizona Senate Bill 1300, which is a bill in progress that would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry a weapon on campus and in the local community.
“If passed, everyone's gonna be affected by this,” Cline said. “Our communities are already dealing with gun violence, and by increasing the number of guns, you're also increasing the risk of gun violence.”
Cline said that in addition to the obvious risk of gun violence, she also fears that students' anxiety levels will heighten knowing open carrying is allowed on campus, which will ultimately disrupt the learning environment here.
“Arming students and professors is not conducive to academic success,” Cline said.
Alongside their work advocating against SB-1300, the group is looking to increase voter turnout amongst college-aged people and educate the public about concerns related to gun violence in our community.
Hicks suggests “anyone who's kind of looking to make a change or would like to see more safety policies,” join the club.
To join Students Demand Action, fill out this form.
Follow Students Demand Action on Instagram @studentsdemand.uaz.
View Students Demand Action’s national website at studentsdemandaction.org.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can contact UA Campus Health by calling (520) 621-9202 or find out how to set up an appointment on their website.
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