Keeping schools safe: RSO advocates for gun safety legislation and education

SAGV picture
Courtesy of Students Against Gun Violence
Students Against Gun Violence, founded by Eliza Eggleston, works proactively to try to reduce gun violence on both a local and state level.

BY
SENIOR REPORTER

Aiming to keep students safe and informed, Students Against Gun Violence (SAGV) advocates for gun safety legislation and education on gun violence in the United States. SAGV works to offer students a forum to discuss the sweeping issue and impacts of gun violence.

“This is a bipartisan issue, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican or not political,” said Eliza Eggleston, founder and president of SAGV. “This is an issue that unfortunately has the potential to affect all of us.”

Eggleston became involved in gun violence prevention in the years following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A resident of Newtown, Conn., Eggleston, a sophomore communications and political science major, felt a deep moral conviction to campaign alongside her parents and community.

Eggleston became further inspired when Team 26 rode through Delaware last spring, stopping in Newark. Team 26 is a group of 26 cyclists who ride from Washington, D.C. to Sandy Hook to honor the 26 killed in Newtown and to raise awareness about gun violence.

After speaking at various events for gun legislation like the Team 26 ride, Eggleston decided to involve other students at the university. She formed a chapter of the national organization of SAGV in October.

Still unsure about the direction of the Registered Student Organization, Eggleston and other student members are trying to learn as much as they can about gun laws, specifically those in Delaware.

On a local level, SAGV frequently coordinates with The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, headed by George Higgins. The coalition works to help safeguard the community and address the origin of gun violence.

In one of the group’s meetings, held every other week, the students drafted a letter to President Assanis. The letter requested his signature on a petition to continue to keep guns off campus, a regulation other RSOs, such as Students for the Second Amendment, are trying to change.

Wednesday night, SAGV hosted a screening of the “Newtown” documentary, filmed 20 months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 children and six staff members. The film offers intimate access inside the lives and homes of those most affected by the tragedy.

“I think the movie will make people gain a little bit of perspective and understand why we are doing what we’re doing with SAGV,” Eggleston said.

Gina Evangelista, a junior neuroscience student, attended the screening after learning about it in an anthropology class.

“The movie really made my problems seem small in comparison to what this community suffered through,” Evangelista said. “Hearing firsthand what the families and teachers experienced was so different from seeing it on the news and in the papers.”

Eggleston hopes to expand SAGV and attract more students, as it is still a small and fairly new organization on campus.

“We really want to grow — we’re a really small organization right now, but everyone is welcome,” Eggleston said.

In the future, she said the group is looking to educate the Wilmington and Newark areas on gun safety legislation, while also expanding on a national level with calls to Congress.

“This is not a limited issue to mass school shootings,” Eggleston said. “Gun violence is an everyday issue in every single city and we want people to know that this is a local problem.”

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