Student group holds town hall meeting about gun violence, education funding

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- A local group called 'Lawton Students for Change' held a town hall meeting on Saturday to discuss issues that are affecting the community like education funding and gun legislation. Representative Jeff Coody and other state politicians took part in the discussion.

"Every state has different laws and regulations and stuff,' said Briley Jones, student organizer. "We need to discuss them at the community level instead of the national level."

Jones and other students weighed in their thoughts on gun violence, the teacher walkout, and tax bills.

"I think the teacher walkout is great and that we need funding for our education," said Jones.

State Representative Jeff Coody and State Representative John Michael Montgomery answered questions at the meeting along with community members like Daniel Pae with the City of Lawton and business owner Larry Bush.

"I would hope for the most expeditious resolution of their concerns as we possibly can," said Coody about the teacher walkout and education funding.

Some people in the audience disagreed with the speakers thoughts while other showed their appreciation.

Coody expressed his support for teacher pay raises and increased funding for education, as well as his concerns about the demand to increasing taxes.

"The easiest path for legislatures is to go to a tax increase and take money away from hardworking families and individuals that go to work every day, earn their paycheck and they want as much of the paycheck as possible to take care of their bills," said Coody.

He said increasing taxes should be the last source of funding and that available money from waste and fraud and mismanagement of money should be addressed first.

Another thing talked about at the meeting was gun violence and laws.

"We are safer in our communities than we ever were, but the nature of school shootings has changed," said Jones. "Because you didn't really see people just coming into schools shooting 17 people in six minutes with an AR-15."

Jones believes that issue could be resolved by enforcing universal background checks and banning bump stocks to minimize that amount of people getting hurt in a short period of time like in the Parkland shooting.

Jones said the students were just glad to have the opportunity to talk to representatives and get the community involved.

"We get a greater sense of community and just be able to come together and discuss these topics in a civil manner and not to push us further apart," said Jones.

This town hall meeting was part of a larger movement across the U.S. Communities invited their representatives to town halls to discuss gun laws.

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