Triggered Day 5: The Future for Cedar Park

Voting, Walkouts, the Conversation Continues

Noah Torr and Jessica Mick

Deana Trautz, Reporter

This CPHS News series will end after today, however the conversation on gun-law reform will continue. Several protests that have taken place have been rooted in an outcry after the February school shooting in Parkland, FL, and according to a poll by Quinnipiac University, support for new gun laws is increasing.

The Parkland shooting seemed to be a tipping point for America, urging the conversation between citizens and those who represent them. CPHS News had the opportunity to question local politicians regarding their standpoint on the issue.

Though unable to connect with John Carter, Representative for the 31st congressional district, CPHS News received a written statement from him. Carter said that he vows to protect the second amendment, but he is also open to reform.

“Congress just passed, and I voted for, the Fix NICS Act to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to ensure that bad [people] do not get their hands on guns,” Carter said. “I remain open to other solutions while ensuring that law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights are protected.”

In addition to touching base with Carter, who has been the representative since 2003, CPHS News was able to sit down with Christine Mann, a Democratic candidate for the 31st District. She said that stricter gun laws are a necessity in the country.

“I think we need to make some significant changes in gun legislation,” Mann said “I am in favor of universal background checks on every gun sale. I am in favor of going back to an assault type weapons ban. We’ve had that in the past and these types of shootings went down when that was intact and in effect. Bump stocks, of course, need to be banned.”  

While many are protesting in efforts to sway current representatives’ opinions, electing new members into Congress can make an even larger impact. Mann is running against M.J Hegar in the Democratic primary runoff on May 22. Whoever wins that will then run against Carter in the general election in November.

Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas since 2013, will be running against the Democratic nominee, Beto O’Rourke. The Senate election will be on Nov. 6 and students who will be 18 years old by then must register to vote by Oct. 6.

For students who wish to speak out in favor of gun-law reform, a walkout is planned for April 20 at CPHS. Sophomore Sydney Deen registered the school on the National School Walkout website, which gives students an option to RSVP.

Deen said that she registered the school because staying involved is crucial to making change.

“To make a change in our policy, it’s the least we can do to show our support for victims around the country,” Deen said. “A change clearly needs to be made in our policy, [because] our students and teachers are facing the consequences of outdated laws almost every day.”

Deen said she has noticed a decrease in social media on this issue, but that doesn’t mean the fight will be over soon.

“I do think that it will continue to lessen,” Deen said. “But there are very motivated and passionate people out there who have started the next chain of events that will hopefully continue to work hard to keep this movement going.”

Gun-law reform affects the entire community, including the one-third of Americans who own a gun. Between students, there are many varying opinions on the matter. Sophomore Cassie King said that she thinks guns are important to our country.

“I think that guns are extremely important and they help protect the people,” King said. “I believe that in schools if teachers had proper training with the guns, they could voluntarily carry [them].”

Sophomore Jefferey Morphis said that not all guns should be banned.

“I think that there should be a compromise from both sides of the debate,” Morphis said. “I don’t feel that getting rid of all guns is going to solve anything, however getting rid of things like assault rifles and weapons of that nature may be a solution.”

In the midst of it all, principal John Sloan would like to assure students that they are safe.

“What I would like everybody to know is that you do not have to live in fear, and the important thing is that we’re prepared and we know what to do in the case of an emergency,” Sloan said. “We are here for your safety and will do everything we can to make sure our school is a safe place, [and] continues to be a safe place.”

Click here to find the rest of CPHS News’ Triggered series, including five days of Wolfcast segments and Wolfpack articles.