Sen. Durbin visits Oak Lawn High School after student sends letter about gun violence

OAK LAWN, Ill. (WLS) -- A heartwarming letter from a southwest suburban student concerned about gun violence catches the attention of U.S. Sen Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

The student invited him to visit Oak Lawn Community High School and on Friday morning Sen. Durbin spoke with the students.

It's a conversation Adem Osmani wasn't sure he'd ever get a chance to have.

"I just felt like we need to take some action and a lot of us wanted answers so, I decided why not reach out to the senator and try to get some answers," said Oak Lawn Community High School Senior Adem Osmani.

The town hall style meeting came after the 17-year old senior wrote an impassioned letter about gun safety to the lawmaker from Illinois inviting him to the school in the wake of the youth-driven March for Our Lives gun control movement.

"Why haven't we done anything? Because the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby is powerful politically," said Sen. Durbin.

Osmani, who is heavily involved in student government and co-president of the school's National Honor Society, was joined by several dozen students who came to school on a day when there were no classes in order to say enough hasn't been done to help prevent mass shootings.

"It's an opportunity for us to be heard. We have to take that and grasp it and let people know that the youth is the change of the world," said junior Saeda Sulieman.

Classmate Ian Palacios added, "A lot of kids are more involved and are more involved in politics than they were before, especially because of social media."

But not everyone here's on board. Sophomore Billy Hennessy questions today's approach to gun safety and said he's not sure students are being taken seriously by lawmakers.

"They view us as immature voters and people who will just take what they say and not do our research," Hennessy said.

While the discussion also covered other topics, Adem Osmani said kids here, like those in Parkland, are now energized to do even more.

"Just keep it going, whatever comes next just do it to the best of our ability and keep moving forward," Osmani said.
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