The recent mass shootings at an elementary school in Texas and at a Tops Market in Buffalo were on the minds of students and panelists at the State of Our Youth Rally hosted by State Senator Rachel May.
“We all feel like we are under siege and this problem of violence is not something our children should grow up with, but it is a reality,” said May.
High school students from across the Syracuse area attended the rally virtually. The theme of this year’s event was violence in schools. May says her youth advisory council chooses the focus each year, and this is the third of four conferences they have chosen to discuss violence in schools.
Christian Brothers Academy eleventh grader Sravan Kodali said reducing gun violence for students was a priority for lawmakers.
“Gun violence in America is at record highs, but it hasn’t happened haphazardly over the past few weeks, although it’s in the headlines right now. The lack of legislation passed to reform the laws on firearms has continued to perpetuate this unprecedented increase in gun violence,” Kodali said.
May pointed out that New York now has a law on the books that would allow people to sue a gun manufacturer or retailer for selling a gun that is then used in a violent crime. Gunmakers have challenged the law, but a federal judge ruled earlier this week that the legislation is constitutional. But May said more needed to be done immediately for those suffering from the trauma of gun violence.
“Because I think people who live with that kind of trauma, it’s really hard to concentrate in school. It’s hard to do well in school. It’s hard to keep a job or feel comfortable even when dropping off their children at school”, said May.
Panelists also discussed gun violence in the central New York community and shared resources for dealing with it.