On Valentine’s Day, 17 high school students and staff were murdered in their classrooms.

Rocked by this tragedy and inspired by the bravery and resolve of the Parkland survivors and high schoolers across the nation, college students all over Maine asked ourselves: What can we do stop gun violence?

As Mainers, we appreciate the important role of hunting and responsible gun ownership in our culture and economy. We do not, at all, want guns taken away from responsible and trained owners. We are, however, in search of solutions that would prevent such tragedies from happening again.

One possible solution is the “red flag” bill, L.D. 1884, introduced by Sen. Mark Dion. This bill would allow family members or law enforcement officers to identify individuals whose behavior suggests they may hurt themselves or others, and petition to remove firearms from these individuals for a maximum of 21 days. This is clearly an excellent first step toward making Maine a safer place for everyone while protecting the rights of responsible gun owners.

A coalition of concerned students called Bowdoin Demands Action, in conjunction with the Maine College Democrats, College Democrats of Husson University and the Colby College Democrats, want to express our support for this bill. We believe this bill will not only remove arms from those wishing to hurt others, but will also prevent people struggling with self-harm from accessing firearms. We urge lawmakers from across the state to think of the good that this bill could do, rather than the backlash from the National Rifle Association and similar organizations.

Additionally, this group of college students unequivocally supports the efforts by high schoolers across the state and nation to make our schools and streets safer. We support common-sense gun legislation. We support responsible gun owners. We support making Maine a safer place.

Emma Kane

South Portland

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