On Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released a video of a recent roundtable he had with Manhattan high school students about gun violence.
Schneiderman sat down with students from Bard High School Early College Manhattan after he attended the first National School Walkout the school participated in on March 14, exactly one month after 17 people, including students, were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, a movement spearheaded by its survivors spread across the nation to tell lawmakers they’ve had enough inaction regarding school safety and gun control measures.
“These students are building a movement that will change our communities and change our country,” Schneiderman said. “The gun lobby may think that they can wait out these protests and keep on profiting from business as usual — but they’ve never faced opponents like these students before. Every public official should hear these students and take their message to heart: Pass common sense gun reform. There are no more excuses for delay. Our children will not — and should not — forgive us if we keep failing to protect them from these entirely predictable and preventable attacks.”
Added Bard student Ana Guaba, “They’re just common sense laws that we’re fighting for. We do not need an assault rifle or semiautomatic gun in the streets. You do not need that for self-protection.”
Another National School Walkout took place Friday to commemorate the Columbine shooting in which two senior students killed 12 students and one teacher and injured two dozen others on April 20, 1999. The attackers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds after exchanging gunfire with responding authorities.
Since 2013, Schneiderman’s office has removed nearly 1,700 guns from communities across New York state via gun buybacks like one held last week in White Plains.
“I don’t think anyone here is trying to take away anyone’s 2nd Amendment right,” Guaba said. “We’re not saying, ‘There should be no guns in this country.’ We’re not saying that. We’re simply saying, ‘There are guns that do not have a place in our society today.’”