Michigan students speak out about desired gun reforms

Students from different Michigan schools spoke frankly about the devastating impacts of gun violence.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:10 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - Students from different Michigan schools spoke frankly about the devastating impacts of gun violence.

They’re building momentum as people on both sides of the gun reform debate prepare to rally at the state capitol on Wednesday.

It’s all about making a structural change that leads to safer communities and schools, and that means passing laws that will help make that happen.

“I’m ready to fight and do what’s necessary to ensure that we have this in place,” said Eric Spragins, a 15-year-old from Southfield. “I believe that we as the youth and many people as voters, we do have the power here and we’re not going to have the courts or any politician tell us we can’t get this done or that done.”

Spragins wants reforms that include universal background checks, secure storage of firearms, and extreme risk protection orders.

Another student, Julia Begley, survived the 2021 attack at Oxford High School that killed four classmates and injured several others.

“I spent 10 minutes crouched on a toilet seat with two other girls,” Begley said. “I held hands with them as I tried to blackout the screams and gunshots ringing through the halls and shaking the stall door. To this day, I have not been able to block out the sounds.”

Begley is outspoken about the need for more mental health services, as is Joseph Kesto, a student from MSU, where three students were killed and five others were injured last month.

“There’s also still that part of me in the back of my head that was saying, ‘This can always happen again.’ I can literally be sitting here right now and all I’ll see is people running or hear gunshots. It’s just a scary feeling,” Kesto said.

Despite the fear, that feeling is something they have turned into fuel. Supporters of gun safety and gun rights will rally for much of the day on Wednesday, March 14, when the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation.

Senate lawmakers could vote on this series of gun safety bills as early as Wednesday. Gabby Giffords is an expected speaker at the rally.

Opponents to the legislation are also expected to make their voices heard at the capitol.

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