La Cueva students walk out to speak up for gun rights - Albuquerque Journal

La Cueva students walk out to speak up for gun rights

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

La Cueva High School students walked out of class Wednesday morning for a pro-Second Amendment rally.

The Northeast Heights school joined others in the state and throughout the nation for the movement called Stand for the Second.

Devon Van Leeuwen
Devon Van Leeuwen

Co-organizers Casey Bruno, 16, and Devon Van Leeuwen, 15, said about 100 students participated.

The two were the main speakers at the rally, which they hope will start a conversation about gun rights.

“Our school safety is very important to our government and myself. I’m not here to argue about that, but I am here to make sure our Second Amendment is kept safe and upheld,” Van Leeuwen said.

He said stricter gun laws would prevent “good people from getting guns.”

Bruno told the Journal the rally was a way to show another perspective in a nationwide debate.

“We wanted our student body and government to know not everyone was anti-gun,” the sophomore said. “I think I planted the seed that guns can be used for good things.”

The 10 a.m. protest lasted about 20 minutes, Van Leeuwen said.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” one protester’s sign said.

The Stand for the Second walkout took place at schools across the country
The Stand for the Second walkout took place at schools across the country. (Courtesy of KOAT-TV)

Will Riley, a Carlsbad High School senior, is being credited as the founder of the nationwide movement.

The Carlsbad walkout started just after 3:30 p.m., less than 20 minutes before the end of the school day, and more than 600 students participated, Riley said.

The 18-year-old was inspired to start the movement because he felt his entire generation was being labeled as gun control advocates, and he wanted to show that wasn’t the consensus.

Riley said he was happy with the turnout for Stand for the Second both in Carlsbad and nationwide.

“I was just really proud to give a platform for people who felt like they were being ignored, and I thought I was able to break the silence,” he told the Journal.

Riley said he was also named an honorary sheriff’s deputy by Eddy County for his advocacy efforts.

“I was really happy to see that law enforcement was so committed to protecting our rights,” he said.

Hundreds of schools from all over America participated in solidarity with the movement, including students from Illinois, California, Florida and Nebraska. Riley said he was able to spread the word about the protest using social media.

The walkout comes after other recent protests have advocated for stricter controls on weapons as a way to deter gun violence after a shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

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