Ozarks Tonight: Organizing for March Gun Protest

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On Ozarks Tonight, local high school students talk about gun rights, gun safety and their generation’s role in moving this issue forward. 

BRIAN

Well, school safety, gun control, gun rights: these are big issues that are of concern for folks here in the Ozarks. 

We want to get the perspective of two individuals who really are on the front lines in many ways of dealing with these concerns. We have two high school students joining us this evening. Sam Smith is familiar to you. He was here before and is the president of the High School Democrats of Missouri. And we’ve got Jake Ayres, who represents the Young Americans for Freedom chapter in Branson.

So you’re going to Branson High, and Sam you’re at Parkview. So you’re both local.

Jake, you’re a conservative. What do you make of all the calls of your fellow students in places like Florida for more gun control? 

AYERS
Well, I personally believe I would feel safer in an environment where teachers are armed and teachers have that authority to pack heat per se and carry a weapon in their desks or conceal and carry, maybe not on their person, but in a spot in the room it would make for a safer environment not only for me to but for my fellow students as well.

BRIAN
Sam, how do you view this? 

SMITH
Although I would disagree with the concept of teachers having weapons, I think there’s a general consensus that increased security in schools is important. Teachers aren’t the only people who could have guns in schools, you know. There’s been an increased presence in SROs, student resource officers, and these are people who are just as well equipped but are better trained. 

Whenever you have teachers, that’s an individual who already isn’t paid enough and has an incredible burden on them. To have the lives of their students at it as an additional burden seems unnecessary and unfair. 

BRIAN
Let me ask you this because there’s all this controversy about the sheriff’s deputy in Florida who allegedly sat outside and didn’t do anything. How do you know that even the folks who are getting that stipend, getting that extra training in these schools are going to react the way that we expect them to when the time comes? What do you say, Jake? 

AYERS
Well, it all comes down to their to their training, you know, it comes down to how they are trained before the attack itself. If they’re acquainted, if their training is up to par, then they should be trusted with that with that role. 

BRIAN
Sam?

SAM
I would state the position that possibly seeing the fact that this deputy sheriff was well equipped to defend and didn’t to do so anyway could show us that more guns aren’t always a great solution to the problem.

BRIAN
You both represent two fairly large high schools in the area. Obviously, the whole Florida situation, that tragedy, has been weighing heavily, I’m assuming, on the student bodies of both your schools. What are we missing in the media coverage of this locally? I mean if you had to say here’s something that you’re not really covering very well about this story what would it be? And go with Jake. 


AYERS
Personally, from what I’ve seen around our school and speaking with certain teachers, is they’re all for conceal and carry, for the safety of not only themselves but the but the student body there and administration. 


BRIAN
OK, so that’s not getting out as much you think in the news. Sam?

SMITH
I would say that the local media has been doing a pretty good job in covering, you know, the fact that there is a movement within the youth specifically you know in this area attempting to mobilize for it. I saw the march for live segments that have been on several local television stations, and it’s true I’m involved with that movement. And we really like the progress that we’re seeing. I think that the coverage that we have received, you know, in our social media aspects in organizing so far are very good, but that you’ve really going to see a lot more when we finally take to the streets on March 24th. 


BRIAN
All right well we appreciate both Jake and Sam being here tonight talking about this really important issue. We’ve actually got more with them coming up on our Ozarks Tonight extra. 

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