High profile shootings in the USA……
Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, May 31, 2019: 12 people killed, 4 wounded…
STEM Charter School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, May 7, 2019: 1 student killed, 8 students wounded…
University of North Carolina, Charlotte, April 30, 2019: 2 students killed, 4 students wounded…
Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood cookout, April 29, 2019: 1 person killed, at least 7 people wounded…
April 27, 2019, Chabad Synagogue, Poway, California: 1 woman killed, 3 people, including 8 year old girl, wounded…
February 15, 2019, Henry Pratt Manufacturing Plant, Aurora, Illinois: 5 employees killed, 5 police officers wounded…
January 26, 2019, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 5 people killed, including gunman’s girlfriend, girlfriend’s father and brother, and gunman’s parents…
January 23, 2019, SunTrust Bank, Sebring, Florida: 5 women killed…
January 10, 2019, Davis, California: 22 year old female police officer ambushed and killed during her first month on the job while investigating minor traffic accident…
Chicago Mercy Hospital, November 20, 2018: Emergency physician, pharmacy resident, and police officer killed by physician’s ex-boyfriend…
Thousand Oaks, California, November 7, 2018: 12 people killed, 22 injured…
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2018: 11 people killed, 6 wounded at Jewish synagogue by anti-Semitic gunman…
Bakersfield, California, September 13, 2018: 5 people killed, including shooter’s ex-wife…
Cincinnati, Ohio, Fountain Square Office Building, September 6, 2018: 3 people killed, 2 wounded…
Jacksonville, Florida Video Football Gaming Tournament, August 26, 2018: 2 people killed, 9 wounded…
Capital Gazette newspaper, Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018: 5 people killed, including editor, 3 journalists, and another staff member…
Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018: 8 students and 2 teachers killed, 13 wounded…
Nashville, Tennessee, April 22, 2018: 4 people killed, 2 wounded…
Pathway Home for Veterans with PTSD, Yountville, California, March 9, 2018: 3 female staff killed by former client…
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018: 14 students and 3 staff killed, 17 wounded by former student…
Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, January 23, 2018: 2 students killed, 12 wounded…
Highlands Ranch, Colorado, December 31, 2017: 1 police officer killed, 4 other officers and 2 civilians wounded…
Tehama County, California, November 14, 2017: 5 people killed, 12 wounded, including 6 children…
Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 5, 2017: 26 people killed, 20 wounded…
Las Vegas, Nevada, October 1, 2017: 58 people killed, 422 wounded…
Freeman High School, Rockford, Washington, September 13, 2017: 1 student killed, 3 students wounded…
New York City Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, June 30, 2017: 1 person killed, 5 wounded…
Little Rock, Arkansas, June 30, 2017: 25 people wounded…
Alexandria, Virginia baseball field, June 14, 2017: 4 people wounded…
San Francisco UPS warehouse, June 14, 2017: 3 people killed, 2 wounded…
Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Airport, Florida, January 6, 2017: 5 people killed, 6 wounded…
On an average day in the United States: 99 people killed by guns, 232 wounded….
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Townville, South Carolina, September 28, 2016: 2 people killed, including shooter’s father and 6 year boy, 2 others wounded by 14 year old boy…
Burlington, Washington, September 28, 2016: 5 people killed at department store makeup counter…
Fort Myers, Florida, July 25, 2016, 2 people killed: 17 wounded…
Sniper Attacks, Dallas, Texas, July 7, 2016: 5 people killed, 7 wounded…
Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016: 49 people killed, 58 wounded…
Excel Industries, Hesston, Kansas, February 25, 2016, 3 people killed, 14 wounded…
Kalamazoo, Michigan, February 20, 2016, 6 killed, 2 people wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2015, 99 people killed by guns, 232 wounded….
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Inland Regional Center, San Bernardino, California, December 2, 2015, 14 people killed, 21 wounded…
Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, November 27, 2015, 3 people killed, 9 wounded…
Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, October 1, 2015, 9 people killed, 9 wounded…
Marine Corps Recruitment Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 16, 2015, 5 people killed, 2 wounded…
Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, 2015, 9 people killed, 1 wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2014, 92 people killed by guns, 222 wounded…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Washington, October 24, 2014, 5 people killed, 1 wounded…
University of California, Santa Barbara student mass murder, Isla Vista, California, May 23, 2014, 6 people killed, 13 wounded…
Fort Hood, Texas, April 3, 2014, 3 people killed, 12 wounded…
Rancheria Tribal Office and Community Center, Alturas, California, February 20, 2014, 4 people killed, 2 wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2013, 92 people killed by guns, 231 wounded…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C., September 16, 2013, 12 killed, 8 wounded…
Hialeah Apartment Building, Hialea, Florida, July 26, 2013, 7 killed…
Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California, June 7, 2013, 6 killed, 3 wounded…
Pinewood Village Apartment, Federal Way, Washington, April 21, 2013, 5 killed…
On an average day in the United States, 92 killed, over 180 wounded…
In an average year in the United States, over 30,000 killed, over 60,000 wounded…
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012, 20 children and 7 adults killed, 2 wounded…
Accent Signage Systems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 27, 2012, 7 killed, 1 wounded…
Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 5, 2012, 7 killed, 3 wounded…
Century Movie Theater, Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012, 12 killed, 58 wounded…
Café Racer, Seattle, Washington, May 20, 2012, 6 killed, 1 wounded…
Oikos University, Oakland, California, April 2, 2012, 7 killed, 3 wounded…
"Pious condolences will no longer suffice…"
"Quarter measures and half measures will no longer suffice…"
"The time has now come that we must enact stringent gun control legislation…"
"…gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world."

Senator Thomas Dodd, June 11, 1968

"Pious condolences will no longer suffice…"
"Quarter measures and half measures will no longer suffice…"
"The time has now come that we must enact stringent gun control legislation…"
"…gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world."

Senator Thomas Dodd, June 11, 1968

Announcing the Winners in the 2019 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest

The prompt for the 2019 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest was the following excerpt from the majority opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in the 1980 case of Lewis v. United States:

The Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia."

The contest was open to all high school students in the United States and its territories. Students were asked to describe their thoughts about the above statement by Justice Blackmun, but not necessarily to defend or refute it. Winning essays were chosen on the basis of their accuracy, originality, clarity, cohesiveness, and overall impact by more than 30 Americans Against Gun Violence supporters who read and rated the essays blinded to any student identifying information. We initially announced that Americans Against Gun Violence would be awarding a total of $15,000 distributed among twelve winners. After reading all of this year's entries, however, we decided that there were so many compelling essays that we would increase the total amount of awards to $16,200, distributed among 24 winners.  (Tax-deductible donations to fund the essay contest in future years can be made via the Join/Donate page of this website.)

We are pleased to present the winning essays in the 2019 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest below. Again this year, however, several of our essay contest winners have chosen not to have either their names or their high school affiliations released in association with their essays. We understand the concerns of these students and support their decisions to withhold identifying information from the public. We are at the same time deeply disturbed by the toxic atmosphere in our country that not only makes students fear the possibility of getting shot and killed when they go to school, but of being attacked in one form or another if they openly express their opinions on the subject of gun violence prevention. It is the mission of Americans Against Gun Violence to eradicate this toxic atmosphere and to stop the shameful epidemic of gun violence that disproportionately threatens the health and safety of our children and our youth.

 

First Place Winner ($3,000 award)

Seo Park

Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose, California

Redefining America without its Defining Factor — Guns ....Many Americans believe they have the right to own a gun...In fact, the Second Amendment, as it was originally written, does not prohibit the adoption of laws banning most civilian gun ownership today...The voice of my generation can write our future... Our lives are not a gun's to take, and we will ensure that future generations are protected... We are equipped with everything we need...the truth about the Second Amendment, the facts about gun violence, the tragic stories, and most importantly, the passion and care we possess....Read the full essay

 

Second Place Winner ($2,500 Award)

Rhea Jansen

Freeman High School, Rockford, Washington

When the clock struck 10:08 on March 14th, there were shared looks throughout my classroom, and with a nod of our heads, the five of us stood up and walked out of the school. This came one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) shooting that resulted in the loss of 17 innocent lives. But the walkout wasn't only to show unity. My tiny school experienced a similar tragedy five months earlier. It feels strange to say that we were the lucky ones, but after seeing on the news of the MSD mass shooting what could have happened at our high school if the shooter’s AR- 15 hadn't jammed, leaving him with a handgun as his only functioning firearm, we are the lucky ones. Lucky, compared to the MSD students, even though one student at our school was killed and three others were wounded...Read the full essay

 

Third Place Winner ($2,000 Award)

Brandon Restler

Ardsley High School, Ardsley, New York

....Only in the United States of America do students fear for their lives every day because of senseless, preventable gun violence.... Our country must not continue to look away from the truth: the truth that guns are killing innocent people, the truth that gun violence in the United States is much more common than in other developed countries, and the truth that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of everyday citizens to own murder machines....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Jin Chey

St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire

Student Voices: Now is the time...."You hear someone drop a book and you hear a loud noise and somewhere in the back of your mind as a 16-year-old hearing about these things you wonder, where's the nearest exit? And do I need to be worried for my safety right now?" This feeling is the sad reality of American school life....American schools are not being protected from gun violence....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name and High School affiliation withheld at students' request)

Misunderstanding and Vagueness....Whenever the topic of gun control would be brought up in school or in the news...the Second Amendment would usually be mentioned, though it would only be explained as "the right to bear arms". Of course I would be somewhat familiar with the amendment as it has garnered a lot of controversy over the past few years. However, when I took a closer look at the Amendment, "militia" popped out to me. This word was never discussed.... Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Hana Kim

(High School affiliation withheld at student's request.)

...With the national rate of gun deaths the highest it’s been in more than 20 years and Americans being 10 times more likely to be killed by a gun than people in other developed countries, we live in a time in which we don’t possess the basic freedom from fear - a right that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed more than half a century ago. Instead, we’re forced into lockdown drills at school to prepare ourselves for the very possible threat of a shooter, stealing the innocence from a generation of youth who experienced their first lockdown when they were barely old enough to read. Indeed, the “well regulated militia” of the Second Amendment has been missing in action when it comes to preventing the harrowing number of mass shootings and other gun homicides in our country committed by individuals who were never intended to have a constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.” Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name and High School affiliation withheld at students' request)

Constitutional Commas and the Power of Punctuation….Recent interpretations of the Second Amendment's second comma downplay the importance of the militia as the reason for the right to bear arms. However..."A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," is an absolute construction, a structure indicating a cause and effect relationship with the clause that follows it. Thus, the comma separating this phrase from "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is actually punctuation following the absolute clause that illustrates the inextricable relationship of the need for a militia to the possession of firearms...The countless catastrophic deaths of people in our nation due to gun violence demand that we consider the strong linguistic and historical evidence pointing to an interpretation of the Second Amendment that understands involvement with the militia to be the grounds for keeping and bearing something as powerful and destructive as a gun...Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Marissa Plaza

Folsom High School, Folsom, California

The Lethal Toy That's About to Take Down America...The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution has become an excuse for citizens to claim a deadly freedom. “The right to bear arms” is the only part of the Amendment mentioned anymore, and people are disregarding the entire first half of the Amendment, including the crucial phrase, “A well regulated militia.”....I refuse to be the next victim of a mass shooting. I refuse to allow the misinformed to continue allowing potentially dangerous people to purchase guns with ease. I refuse to let this great country spiral into death and disaster because of lethal toys....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Gurashish Khangura

Argonaut High School, Jackson, California

Students enrich themselves within literature, solve puzzles as they delve into math, explore new depths to their creativity within art classes, and enroll in various classes that contribute to their diverse education. In recent times, they now also must learn how to board up their classroom windows. They memorize escape routes to classrooms from the possibly precarious outdoors. As little is being done to impede the critical prevalence of mass shootings, students must now learn how to safeguard their own lives....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name High School withheld at students' request)

...The NRA has long interpreted the Second Amendment as guaranteeing a largely unfettered individual right to own guns. In the 1980 case of Lewis v. United States, however, the Supreme Court directly linked any right to bear arms to service in a well regulated militia....The NRA's sanctimonious misrepresentation of the Second Amendment continues to aid and abet mass shootings and impede solutions to the carnage.... How many bodies must litter the corridors of history before all sensible Americans take to the streets, exercising their First Amendment right to demand an end to the misrepresentation of the Second Amendment and an end to wanton gun violence in the United States of America?  Read the full essay

 

$250 Award Winner

Yasmine Mabine

Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego, California

The Light Upon the Trees...Where gun advocates see lack of regulations as preservation of their "freedom," I see chaos as bullets fly through buildings and children lie on the floor. They see themselves as their forefathers fighting against tyranny, but I see people purchasing war-grade ammunition on a whim, inflicting senseless violence.... They see their constitution protecting their right to bear arms, but I see The Declaration of Independence declaring our right to life, liberty, and happiness...."A well-regulated militia." I wonder why I cannot see... Where was this militia as bullets took the lives of children at school?... I hold deep concern for a nation whose lens is so misconstrued that it is no longer able to distinguish a well-regulated militia from an unstable teenager with an assault rifle....Read the full essay

 

$250 Award Winner

Elizabeth Rieger

Edgemont Junior/Senior High School, Scarsdale, New York

The Right to Live is Not Ambiguous....Every morning at 8 am my sister and I go to school. Every morning we sit in the car, chatting about our assignments and tests. And every morning, as my sister and I part ways, an almost subconscious thought crosses my mind: "will we be OK at the end of the day?" I am sixteen years old, still learning my place in the world, and yet I have the additional daily burden of worrying whether my life, or the life of my sister, will be added to those sacrificed on the altar of the "right to bear arms." Read the full essay

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

....Seventeen lives were taken on that Valentine's Day at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, including my good friend, Jaime Guttenberg.... There is a reason that people want to see stricter gun control laws in this country: innocent people are dying, gone forever, like Jaime.

 

$100 Award Winner

Diane Zhang

Fox Lane High School, Bedford, New York

... Justice Blackmun's statement has been challenged by the Court's ruling in District of Columbia v Heller, which knocked down the Washington D.C. handgun ban and granted individuals the right to bear arms. This contradicts the 2nd Amendment because it neglects that such a right only applies in relation to state militias, undermining context. Given that every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns, there is clearly a necessity in clarifying the boundaries of gun rights. Such patterns in gun violence in the United States are not an abuse of a preexisting right, but rather a catastrophic misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment. 

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

....Gun advocates will profess ad nauseum that owning a gun is an individual right and the only way to solve an issue with guns is more guns--an illogical and foolish argument because it only puts more guns on the streets to hurt people.

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

....Lawmakers need to view the Constitution as a living document that should respond to cultural and societal changes and developments in technology. The advances in military armaments could not have been anticipated by the authors of the Constitution. Sensible restrictions on guns specifically designed to kill human beings are not unconstitutional. On the contrary, they are consistent with the right of all U.S. citizens to, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

...The full extent of what the Second Amendment guarantees is often misunderstood, as the Second Amendment states that the right to bear arms is only given when there is a reasonable connection to upholding a civilian militia.... The 2008 Heller decision created the biggest barrier the nation ever had to gun control laws, essentially deleting the phrase, "A well regulated militia,"  from the Second Amendment.... How much longer must this nation watch as children die and become desensitized to a nation plagued with violence?

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student Name High School withheld at students' request)

.... As a society and a nation, we have progressed tremendously.... Yet to this day we seem to think gun ownership is crucial to the American identity. Much of this perception comes from the powerful gun lobby, particularly the NRA, and an arguably improper Supreme Court case. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia vs Heller that the 2nd Amendment's reference to militias was a "prefatory clause" and was therefore not limiting of the right to bear arms....The founding fathers chose their words carefully, and choosing to selectively allow or ignore phrases of the Constitution as done in this case is comparable to rewriting it.

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

...I attend a very conservative high school where the majority of students live in homes with firearms. Gun control is not a topic that I can bring up at school as I will be immediately ridiculed and excluded. The first line of defense in settling an argument today is, "I'll bring my gun." Is this a right our framers were considering when the Second Amendment was adopted?....The true meaning of the Second Amendment has been lost in translation by many Americans fueled by the National Rifle Association whose core arguments revolve around individual rights.... However, nowhere in the Amendment is the word "individual" noted...."A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," does not refer to the common American citizen....

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

On April 20, 2018, I unified over a third of my small, conservative school to rally for better gun legislation. My name was plastered in the news....Gun control opponents taunted us from afar....They spat insults toward me and fellow students....The number of times I've heard, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," is uncountable, but I'll remember the words of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun when standing my ground, for the first phrase of the Second Amendment, "A well regulated Militia," is often omitted....Now, next time somebody asks me why I'm "against the Constitution," I can ask them the same thing right back. 

 

$100 Award Winner

Arielle Geismar

New York, New York (High school name withheld at student's request)

....Our nation's Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as guaranteeing no right to keep and bear arms that were not related to a well regulated militia, as articulated by Justice Blackmun in his majority opinion in Lewis v. United States. Decisions in United States v. Miller, Presser v. Illinois, and United States v. Cruikshank were all consistent with this decision...That is, until District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. A decision made when I was just 7 years old has set a wildly dangerous precedent for the rest of my life....Somehow, it's up to me as a student to safeguard and fight for my safety, when the leaders of my country should have done this for me....

 

$100 Award Winner

Madeline Snoke

Mira Loma High School, Sacramento, California

....The Constitution was intended to be a living, changing document, and as times change, to be interpreted as safety, reason, and circumstance dictate. However, the issue of protection has turned into an issue of possessions. The Second Amendment is often cited by gun-owning individuals with respect to owning a weapon for themselves rather than their country. With an exponential rise in gun violence, a militia of gun-owning Americans shouldn't be the priority. Our priority should be the safety of the people who live in this country, the people the Constitution represents. 

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

Constitutionally Condoned Killing in America....Gun violence in America far exceeds the rest of the industrialized world. Since 2009 there have been 288 school shootings in the United States. This is 57 times more than every other G7 country combined. ...The Second Amendment talks about a well-regulated militia and the regulation of the right to bear arms. It is unlikely that such arms were intended to include instruments of war that could be easily obtained by the civilian population for private ownership and use. Military grade weapons need to be regulated by the government as intended by the Constitution. 

 

$100 Award Winner

(Student's Name and High School affiliation withheld pending student's permission)

....We, as students, are worried. We pause and laugh nervously at the drop of a book, we hold our breath each time the office interrupts class over the speakers, we choke down hypotheticals during drills, and we watch as our teachers break mid-sentence....New Zealand's prompt response to the  Christchurch mass shooting is an embarrassment to the United States. It's appalling that our nation has yet to institute meaningful reform. Federal inaction has allowed for similar events to splinter lives and provoke tragedy upon tragedy. Our representatives in government have yielded to the influence of special interest groups, and their negligence to pursue a solution has left us all vulnerable....

 

Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest

The prompt for the 2018 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest was the following statement made by the late Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 11, 1968:

The time has now come that we must adopt stringent gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world.

The contest was open to all high school students in the United States and its territories. The deadline for students to enter the contest was May 6, 2018. Winners were chosen by more than 30 Americans Against Gun Violence supporters who read and rated the students' essays blinded to any student identifying information. Americans Against Gun Violence is awarding a total of $15,000 to the twelve winners. Tax-deductible donations to fund the annual essay contest can be made via the Join/Donate page of this website.

Because of the personal attacks to which some high school gun control activists have been subjected in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February of this year, we gave essay contest winners the option of withholding their names and high school affiliations when their essays were published. We are pleased to present the winning essays in the 2018 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest below. We regret, however, that as a result of the toxic political culture that currently exists in our country surrounding the gun control issue, several students did not feel safe in having their names and high school affiliations published. It is part of the mission of Americans Against Gun Violence to change this culture.

 

First Place Winner ($3,000 award)

(Student Name and High School withheld at student's request)

Gun Control Lessons from Around the World: The Need for Reform in US Policy and Perspective....Over 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, the United States has still been unable to pass significant gun control laws....Modernized gun reform laws are long overdue in our nation, and it is time for the US to catch up to the contemporary laws of Canada, Britain, Norway, and countless other countries....Read the full essay

 

Second Place Winner ($2,500 Award)

Lucas Suter

Placer High School, Auburn, California

The Weight of Firearms....I'm tired of watching the news, seeing sobbing relatives of someone shot to death. I'm tired of knowing that there are thousands more whose sobbing relatives aren't on television. And I know we are all tired of living with the weight on our shoulders of the millions more who will be killed in our lifetimes....Read the full essay

 

Third Place Winner ($2,000 Award)

Katherine McCabe

Pioneer High School, Woodland, California

....So this is why we're walking out. We're scared, we're angry, and we want change. ....1,077 people have died in mass shootings since the University of Texas mass shooting in 1966. Legislation hasn't changed since that fateful day, and now, we're demanding that it does....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name and High School withheld at students' request)

And here we are - 650,000 gun related homicides; more than twice that many wounded; 130,000 children and teen lives lost within that 50 year time span [since the speech by Senator Dodd] - yet, the quote is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago....People who deal with addiction say that they need to hit rock bottom in order to understand that they need to change. The question is, what is the rock bottom to have the US address its gun addiction? Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name withheld at students' request)

Poolesville High School, Poolesville, Maryland

Fifty Years....Fifty years later, the same words are declared but by a different generation. His voice echoes in our hearts and minds as Americans continue to look toward our government and toward each other for the same essential protection that Senator Dodd asserted the urgency of 50 years ago. Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Mila Opalenik

Amador High School, Sutter Creek, California

Where Is the Controversy? ...Why is it that with all the information available, people are still uninformed about the success that other countries have had with gun control measures that don't involve taking away all guns? ...Countries like Australia and Canada have had enormous success with gun control and safety measures while still allowing gun ownership, so why have we not followed in their footsteps? Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Luis Orozco

Lodi High School, Lodi, California

...[Senator Dodd's quote] remains an inspiration that the fight for stricter gun laws will not go out….I feel very strongly about this movement. This is why I organized my school's walkout on April 20th. Receiving a detention was a badge of honor for me for expressing my rights and beliefs about gun reform....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name and High School withheld at students' request)

More of the Same Until We Change...According to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Medicine, the United States gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than any other high-income country, which is not surprising given that America has the least stringent gun laws in the developed world...America needs to join the modern world and follow the advice of Senator Dodd. "We must adopt stringent gun control legislation," and we must do it now....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

(Student Name High School withheld at students' request)

Why are there two fire drills today, and is that fireworks we hear in the distance? We bustle though the crowd and we are still fine, until we get frantic texts from our friends and family asking if we are alive. It is then that the news reaches us, and the fear for our lives comes upon us. An active shooter is at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School....Read the full essay

 

$1,000 Award Winner

Anahi Ballesteros

Franklin High School, Stockton, California

I was only 12 as I sat in Math class... but then we hear a gun go off. I remember the sounds, the screams, my teacher calling someone on the intercom....I look down at my feet and I see a bullet next to my pink vans....I tried to erase what happened to me, but then Sandy Hook occurred....and since Sandy Hook, there have been at least 1,607 mass shootings, with at least 1,846 people killed and 6,459 wounded. When will it stop? Read the full essay

 

$250 Award Winner

(Student Name High School withheld at students' request)

It's Time for A Change...No other country comes close to the number of mass shootings seen in America annually. We could blame mental health but other countries have mentally ill people too. We could blame violent movies but other countries have violent movies too. We could blame gang violence but other countries have gangs too....Gun control has been proven to work in other countries; It’s time for the United States to make a change....Read the full essay

 

$250 Award Winner

Taylor Motley

Mountain View High School, Mesa, Arizona

Why Do I Have To March For My Life?....We have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours planning, organizing, phone-banking, emailing, et cetera, to mobilize action to keep our voices heard....It is sad that a bunch of high schoolers have to do this....Our legislators should have protected us long ago with actual gun control measures - protected us before we had to learn how to act dead so we aren't the next victim in a mass shooting....Read the full essay