April 22, 2019 | 52° F

Rutgers students join national walkout, support stricter gun control laws

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On March 14, students across the country will take part in a national walkout supporting stricter gun control legislation following a shooting that occurred at a Florida high school earlier this month.

On March 14, a national school walkout to protest gun violence is scheduled as a response to the lack of gun control legislation — a heated subject since the recent Florida school shooting.

“Students should care about this walkout because it is directly tied to their safety. Students around the country will be walking out to demand their safety while they learn. It is up to us, the future leaders of this country, to begins securing our safety at school today so that our children won't have to live with the fear we do on a daily basis. (sic),” said Nicolas Malaniak, treasurer for the Rutgers chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 

The purpose of the walkout is to bring attention to the issue of student safety on all school campuses. The walkout is designed to force leaders in Congress to respond to the incident in Parkland, Florida, with permanent legislature that limits gun violence. 

The Brady Campaign chapter at Rutgers fights to stop gun violence through activities like fundraising, teaching, rallying, petitioning and lobbying for legislation. All work done on behalf of the Rutgers chapter of the campaign is on a volunteer basis. Those who participate do so because they feel passionately about the issue of gun safety. The group will be participating in the walkout and urging other students to join in the coming weeks.

“This walkout is probably the easiest chance any student will get to participate in an advocacy event. Most are planned long ahead, involve travel and are to coordinate with. This walkout is an easier, impromptu event that anyone can decide to partake in while it happening," said Lauren Kaminskas, president of the Rutgers chapter of the campaign.

RUPD will review any safety implications for the participants as well as for other members of the community who are not protesting, said Paul Fischer, captain of the Rutgers University Police Department. This may involve communicating with organizers to assess needs and foresee any impact on the community such as traffic congestion in the case of a march through the streets. The department is also prepared to coordinate with local and state partners, depending on the size of the march. 

“The safety of Rutgers students, faculty and staff is our mission and in order to accomplish that mission the Rutgers Police Department operates Patrol and Detective Bureau units in each of its three Divisions: Camden, New Brunswick and Newark,” Fischer said. 

In addition, Rutgers Public Safety, employs additional security such as student community service officers. The department maintains a state-of-the-art 9-1-1 Dispatch and Communications Center which acts as the communication hub for around the clock, 24/7 security service, 365 days a year. 

The RUPD maintains resources related to active shooter situations on its website which includes videos, information about emergency text notifications, community education and guidelines for reducing risk in the event of an active shooter. 

Anthony Ventriglia

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