Crossing the Aisle for Gun Reform

In wake of recent events, two GHS students decided to take action and speak up about gun reform in Kentucky. Juniors Autumn Harlow and Palmer Lessenberry organized an event they entitled “Crossing the Aisle,” held this past Saturday, where over 50 people were in attendance to encourage discussion about gun laws. This event was about going beyond political parties and the second amendment to open the eyes of those on the fence about gun reform; to tell them what it is really like being a teen amidst all of the mass shootings and suicides in the U.S.
“After the Parkland shooting, Glasgow High School experienced their own school shooting threat, and it sort of threw our entire school into a frenzy,” Lessenberry explains. The panic from this threat is what caused these two students to come together, and inspired them to take charge in bringing awareness to the present issues.
Lessenberry (left) and Harlow (right) deliver speeches to the crowd about gun vio-

lence and its effect on today’s society.

 

In her speech, Harlow shared that she is the daughter of an avid hunter and firearms play a major role in her lifeHarlow added that she doesn’t want responsible gun owners to be stripped of their right to bear arms, but for it to be more difficult for those who have not yet proved their responsibility to purchase a gun.
She went on to share the shocking number of lives lost on school grounds since 2000: 277.
 
 
“Who is to blame?” she asked. “Many may say it is the human heart that is to blame. It is a heart issue, not a gun issue, they say. To that, I say, how do you alter the heart of mankind? How can you idly and hypocritically sit back and be watching American youth get picked off like sitting ducks, screaming ‘heart issue,’ yet never taking the initiative, nor finding the courage to do something about it?”
She closed her speech with a message to her peers, “ You are powerful. You are capable. You are intelligent. You are the future. And most importantly, your opinion matters. Do not give in to those who ostracize and disregard you because of your age. We are the ones walking those halls every day. We are the ones who have to face fear in the place we should feel most safe. We are the ones who see others our age being slaughtered and forced to realize that in any moment, in any school, and in any classroom, it could be us.”
GHS Juniors (from left to right) Autumn Harlow, Olivia Stanley, Palmer Lessenberry, 

 

and Makena Mcmurtrey hold up the posters they made for the event.

 

Lessenberry shared her message with the audience, making a point that names of schools where shootings have occured are more well known than the state capitals.
“We keep ignoring the correlation between violence and a lack of policy. This can be attributed to Congress and our other representatives’ inability to act, work together, and to develop common sense gun reform. We are tired of asking nicely.”
She went on to name several other things “we are tired of,” including people using the phrase, “People kill people, not guns” to excuse innaction, administrators telling us we should feel safe in our schools without making our concerns public, seeing representatives bought and sold like pawns by the NRA, and hearing that the voices of teens are dismissible because we are young.
The changes Lessenberry requested were welcomed with applause from the crowd. Many agreed with the reasonable ideas of improvements to the federal background check system, a mandatory waiting period of at least 48 hours before obtaining a weapon, making bump stocks illegal, raising the age limit to buy a gun to 21 years of age, ammunition and magazine size regulations, and on-site mental health screenings before the purchase of any weapon.
One of the adults to take the stage was Haley Rhinehart, who is the leader of the Bowling Green chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She spoke about how her son, at the age of 4 years old in 2002, came in contact with a gun not safely put away by adults, and consequently injured himself with a bullet wound in the head.
“He picked it up, and the weight of it shifted in his hands and his finger hit the trigger and he shot himself in the head.”
Haley Rhinehart, leader of the Bowling Green chapter of Moms Demand Act-
ion for Gun Sense in America, tells the audience about how she became invol-
ved in a survivor support network.
Rhinehart later made the point that every gun that ends up in the hands of school shooters that are children go through the hands of an adult first. She also added that guns were easily accessed in homes of children who committed suicide, and wants adults to be held more responsible when guns are made accessible to kids who shouldn’t have them.
After several other people in attendance spoke at the event, Harlow and Lessenberry concluded by once again encouraging teens to get more politically involved and speak up about gun violence by registering to vote, emailing representatives, writing representatives, getting involved in student led government, making posts about it on social media, or even forming clubs at school.