What Do Students Think of Washington’s New Gun Law?

It is no longer legal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy a semi-automatic assault rifle in Washington state as of January 1.

Supporters of the law argue that assault rifles – the weapon of choice for the shooters of Parkland, Sandy Hook, and other mass shootings – can kill with an efficiency that shotguns and handguns simply could never match. They say that Washington’s newest gun law is a sign of change.

Previously the state allowed the sale of such weapons to those 18 or older. The new rules, approved by voters in November, comes alongside dozens of other states to strengthen gun control due to a perceived lack of federal action.

Christian Heyne, the legislative director at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington, told The New York Times, “It is a meaningful step in the right direction. Gun violence on the whole is such a complex problem. We need to have complex solutions, comprehensive solutions. This is a part of that conversation.

We’ve seen time and again that Washington voters want action to prevent gun violence in our state. They showed that again by supporting I-1639 by a wide margin,” said Kristen Ellingboe, a spokeswoman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, to CBS News.

This new law is giving some students hope that precautions are finally being put in place to keep our schools safe.

“I feel great about this law. I feel very strongly about having safer gun laws. If I was old enough, I would have voted yes to I-1639,” said sophomore Sabina Gaudiano.

But not everyone is glad that this law was put in place. David Workman, a spokesman for the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation. Workman told CBS news on Jan. 1: “Starting today, young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 will have their rights to purchase semi-automatic rifles stripped away.”

And some Gibson Ek students disagree with the law.

“I personally voted against this specific law, not because I am against gun reform. I feel that once these restraints are put into effect, it is harder to lower the restraints than it would be to slowly enforce gun reform,” said senior Dana Dewitt.

“I am very pro-gun personally,” said senior Soren Stoverud-Myers. “I have grown up to have a healthy respect for guns. The weapon is no worse than the person holding it. My problem is that the government sees me as mature enough to be drafted in a war that I may or may not agree with at 18, so why can’t we own something that is protected under the Second Amendment at 18?” 

“It seems unfair to not be able to buy a rifle as it is my constitutional right,” said junior Jakob McInerney. “I am mature enough to be drafted and drive a car. Also I feel that the government shouldn’t tell me how to store my weapon, because I own it. I feel as though the bill is just making it more unaffordable and more difficult to get a gun, and not really solving the problem.”