While thousands of students across the United States have taken to the streets to protest gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February, some students walked out in support of the Second Amendment on Wednesday. Dubbed as the "Stand for the Second" walkout for May 2, 2018, the protest was originally started by New Mexico student Will Riley.
Participants of the walkout held 16 minutes of silence at 10 a.m. in various schools across the country — a marked one minute difference from the 17 minutes held by anti-gun activist students during the National School Walkout in March. According to the "Stand for the Second" website, the protest is in direct response to the current anti-gun violence movement led by the Parkland students and their allies.
"We have not ignored the huge movement of our peers against these fundamental human rights and liberties, but the American people must know not all of our generation shares in the shortsighted destruction of our Constitution," according to the walkout's website.
The website also says, "We believe, as did the founders, that a well armed citizenry is necessary to the security of a free state. We reject the notion that liberty should be traded for security, for we know we will have neither." CBS SF Bay Area reported that "some" students at San Ramon's California High School participated in the walkout on Wednesday morning.
Hayden Fuller, a student at the high school, told CBS SF Bay Area, "I know it’s hard when, you know, there’s so many people to tell you: you can’t do this, this is wrong, this is unsafe, you’re bad people for showing you believe in something that you’ve always believed in and something’s that a basic human right."
"Stand for the Second" organizers also explained why they chose 16 minutes to remain silent for their protest. "In the spirit of civility with school districts around the country, we are asking for one minute less than the other side received. Additionally, it is estimated that in the U.S. each year 1.5 million people use a firearm to defend themselves," the website said.
It went on to say, "Break that down to 16 minutes, and you have 91 people using a gun responsibly and correctly. We want to draw attention to the people who are legally and effectively exercising their rights."
The website did not, however, cite or refer to any specific studies regarding firearm usage in the United States. The walkout has also been met with pushback. A pro-gun survivor from the Parkland shooting, student Kyle Kashuv of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, tweeted on the subject, "Please do not walk out."
In spite of the pushback online, some participants of the "Stand for the Second" walkout told media that one of the purposes of coming out to support the Second Amendment was to show difference of opinion on gun control among students. Lucus Bendzsa of Indiana's West Vigo High School told The Huffington Post that "Stand for the Second" was to "show that not all high school and college kids are leftists against" gun rights.
Bendzsa referred to rapper Kanye West's recent pro-Donald Trump tweets — including a rant on being an "independent" thinker — and said, "We are all not ideologically aligned as much as the media portrays us as such" and that "we are, as Kanye West said, 'independent thinkers.' We form our own opinions and we are stout in what we believe."
Still, people like Kashuv have stood against the protest. "I will not be walking out today," Kashuv tweeted on Wednesday. "I don't believe it is the correct thing to do. Disrupting 1000s of classrooms around the country isn't the answer. There's a time and place for civil disobedience, I just don't believe that time is now."