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Town hall

Kamal Eaka, of Munster, speaks out against Indiana's gun laws Saturday at a legislative town hall in St. John. Eaka said she was a victim of gun violence in a 2015 armed robbery. 

Students have been outspoken about gun control in the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed — 14 of them students. It is good to hear students express their views about their own safety and that of their peers across the nation.

Lake Central High School student Gabriella Hayes, 16, is among those voices.

At a town hall meeting Saturday in St. John, Hayes told state Sen. Rick Niemeyer and state Rep. Hal Slager, both Republicans, that gun laws need to be tougher.

The day after the shooting in Florida, Lake Central had a scare of its own when a student alluded to an online threat. Police later decided that potential threat was not credible, but the fear shown by students and staff was understandable.

“Reading some of the (social media) posts by the students who were in the school that day, the fact that I could so closely relate to the school environment they were in, it really worried me,” Hayes said.

Her insight, and that of other young people across the nation, should be respected.

It should not be easier to buy semi-automatic rifles than to buy handguns. Restrictions should be the same for both.

Nor should bump stocks, which can be used to convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic rifles, continue to be easily available. The most deadly mass shooting in modern American history, in Las Vegas, should have pushed Congress to quickly respond.

Congress and state legislatures have failed to act; their members should be held accountable.

Students, especially, should not have to live in fear because Congress remains unmoved, one mass shooting after another.

Angry students across the nation, not just at Lake Central and in Florida, are making their voices heard. They are demanding common-sense restrictions.

Young people should be encouraged to remain politically active. The nation needs to hear from them.

They should speak their minds at town halls, amongst their friends, on social media, at political rallies and especially at the ballot box.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.