Editorial: I-594, The Right Move

The passage of Initiative 594, which mandated background checks on all weapon sales, was a huge leap forward for gun safety in Washington State. It set an admirable precedent that I hope other states will follow, and many passionate gun safety advocates are overjoyed.

As a student in Matteo Ricci College’s Humanities for Teaching program, I view this victory through a unique lens. Though I’ve realized that I don’t want to teach right out of college, it is still my long-term goal, and many of my friends are future teachers as well. As the number of school shootings has increased year by year, so has my worry about our safety as we look toward leading classrooms of our own.

I knew I’d occasionally have to drudge through pedagogy and policy to be an effective teacher, but I never thought I might have to fight for my life and the lives of my students. Now I do.
We (rightly) venerate teachers like Newton’s Victoria Soto, who died protecting her students. But instead of creating martyrs out of our nation’s teachers and victims out of its students, lawmakers must be willing to step up, extricate themselves from the pockets of gun lobbyists, and pass the sort of legislation that has been proven to lessen gun violence in other countries.
Washington’s call for background checks is a valuable first step. I can only hope that we continue in this pattern, and that other states follow our lead.

Every single person in my teaching cohort has profoundly inspired me over the past three years, and I can only imagine the difference they’ll make over the course of their careers. Let’s make sure they’re able to.

Caroline Ferguson