Vote ‘yes’ on gun bills

I was in sixth grade when Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first graders and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. During the following weeks, the shooting was all anyone spoke of at school. We were eleven years old who still watched cartoons, still rode our bikes on spring nights, and now we traded theories and stories about the massacre. We spoke of what we would do if someone came for us, who would survive. I lay awake at night, mapping escape routes in my mind. I know we all did.

Recently, I attended hearings on three gun control bills at the State House. Testimony after testimony, I heard parents and legislators and lobbyists say that we must prevent mass shootings from becoming “the new normal.” But, for young people like me, it’s too late for that. It is the new normal. I am now a senior in high school. Six long and bloody years have passed since Sandy Hook; this is all we’ve known for most of our conscious lives. It used to be that when these events of terror occurred, the world would stop. But we’ve become desensitized. Most of us don’t have the emotional capacity to cry with the same frequency that mass shootings occur. Like with any horrific reality, numbness is easier. During active shooter drills, I hear kids laughing at dark jokes.

Yet, finally, after all this time, after countless rejected bills and hundreds of hours of dialogue, we in New Hampshire now have a chance to do something. To try, at least, to stop the senseless bloodshed. If our state passes these bills (HB109, HB514, and HB564) we will close the background check loophole, adopt a brief waiting period before firearm purchase, and limit guns on school grounds. Perhaps gun violence is already the norm, but if we act, we can reverse that.