Students Demand Action advocate for common-sense gun laws

Olivia Shackleton, Campus Editor

“We aren’t anti-gun,” said freshman Katy Zoller, the founder of JCU’s chapter of Students Demand Action. “We are anti-gun violence.”

Zoller explained that Students Demand Action is a group dedicated to advocating for common-sense gun laws. The organization is nationwide and can be found at hundreds of high schools and colleges across America. Zoller founded JCU’s chapter.

“School shootings, mass shootings: Frankly, we’ve had enough. We are not going to let anymore students and people die from gun violence and just sit by passively,” Zoller said.

Zoller began the organization at JCU this semester, and has already seen significant interest from students. She said there are at least five students who are seeking leadership positions, and around 40 to 50 students who want to be members, including those who attended preliminary meetings. Although the organization is not yet official, Zoller says she has submitted the paperwork and is eagerly awaiting confirmation.

She emphasized the sentiment that the organization is anti-gun violence and not against all guns. “So, we are pro Second Amendment. We are not trying to take guns away. We just want guns to get into the correct hands, legally.”

The group focuses on two main goals: education and action. “I want to educate the students on campus as well as any faculty and staff about the epidemic itself, and with that knowledge inspire political action, which can take the form of talking to your representative, writing letters or calling them or lobbying. There are a lot of ways to be politically active.”

She also has made connections at the Ohio Statehouse and wants to plan a visit next semester to meeting with people who can help the organization further its mission. Zoller believes that taking action on the state level is more effective than trying to influence changes on the federal level.

Zoller hopes the weekly meetings can serve as educational sessions. They can include activities such as voter registration and writing letters to state representatives. “We would also like to do a bigger events on campus, such as having a panel of speakers who might include survivors of gun violence, some representatives, people who have been affected in some ways,” she continued. “Even doctors are sometimes good people to have on a panel, since they see the health implications of the epidemic.”

She even indicated how issues of gun violence are close to home, as the Carroll community  received an email from JCUPD earlier this week, saying a female student was driving on Belvoir Boulevard when a male in another car pointed a pistol at her.

“Gun violence affects all of us. Right now it is tearing apart our country, but we each have so much power within us to make change and stop this epidemic and to reduce the number of people killed,” Zoller explained.

Zoller said interested students should attend the meeting on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Dolan Atrium.