A week after eight students and two teachers were gunned down at Santa Fe High School in Texas, a group of students called for safe gun storage practices, hiring licensed therapists, and adding another armed officer and new security measures like metal detectors at their school.
The students emphasized that they were not calling for guns to be taken away from responsible owners.
HAPPENING NOW: Students from Santa Fe High School in Texas hold press conference one week after mass shooting left 10 people dead. //t.co/BgxA5kDgZM
-- ABC News (@ABC) May 25, 2018
Instead, they said they want to ensure that firearms are stored out of the reach of children, that gun owners report lost or stolen weapons, and that gun sellers conduct thorough mental health and background checks on gun buyers and those in their households.
“My dad is a gun owner, my grandfathers are gun owners,” Megan McGuire, a junior at Santa Fe High School, said at a press conference organized by March for Our Lives Houston on Friday. “I don’t want to take away their guns or your guns for that matter.”
“What I mean by gun safety is common-sense solutions to keep those who wish to harm themselves or others from obtaining guns,” she said. “Gun safety means making sure that gun owners do not let their guns fall into the hands of young children or those who are not mature enough to be able to handle weapons that can take someone’s life.”
The Santa Fe students’ press conference came while authorities in Noblesville, Ind., were dealing with the aftermath of a school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School that left a teacher and one student hospitalized. A student was detained in connection to the shooting, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Police said that the student asked to be excused from class and returned with two handguns.
Noblesville West Middle School does not have metal detectors, but the school has a resource officer, according to the paper.
The Santa Fe students said that they were not speaking on behalf of their entire community, and noted that the problem was a multi-faceted one.
“I do believe that this is a three-legged problem,” said Bree Butler, an 18-year-old senior. “It’s not only gun safety. It’s also mental health and security in our schools.”
The response to the school shooting in Santa Fe has been different from the one in Parkland, Fla., where 17 students and educators were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. In the wake of that tragedy, the calls for stricter gun measures were almost immediate. Such calls have been absent in this Texas community.
The Santa Fe students said that they had traveled to the state capitol in Austin to speak with legislators about school safety, and that they had also spoken with Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff. Abbott this week held a series of meetings with superintendents, parents, survivors and others to discuss school safety and mass shootings.
McGuire also shared a message for elected officials who are not taking action.
“My thought is that if you do not do something, you do not have a prayer of being elected,” she said. “My generation will see to that.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.