Local students take initiative for gun reform

By Katherine Dominek, ’19

On March 26, juniors Alec Hjelle, Dylan Carlson Sirvent, and Kelly Haddow along with seniors Julia Boyer and Lily Goldberg and UA alum Grace Clingan met with UA City Council members to discuss safety and legislative initiatives. They discussed what programs could be implemented in UA to make its schools and the community safer as well as the possibility of sending a resolution to the Ohio General Assembly formally calling for the enaction of universal background checks for all private sales and the banning of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

The students were there representing UAHS’ Students for Change, a student-organized club that formed after the Parkland shooting in February.

Another topic of discussion in the council meeting was Home Rule Security. Currently, due to Ohio law, municipalities such as Upper Arlington and Columbus are unable to establish individual regulations regarding the use and sale of firearms.

Junior Kota Wharton, who has helped organize events with March For Our Lives Columbus, has written legislation in hopes of changing this law.

The legislation ranges from general restrictions on firearm access to stronger background checks to a review of Ohio’s position on the home rule. Wharton is working with attorneys, local March For Our Lives members and third party groups to finalize the bills.

“[A goal in] writing these bills is to work with people from both sides of the aisle… we really need to start talking about the same objectives,” Wharton said. “Right now, people are scared for their safety. There are also people who are scared that their guns will be taken away. We don’t want to take away people’s guns, we just don’t want people to be unsafe.”