rebelling against low expectations

Sarah Merkle, Age 15: Defending the Second Amendment


Who cares what a teenager thinks about gun control? Apparently a whole lot of people. Sarah Merkle’s three-minute speech before the Maryland State Legislature has vaulted the 15-year-old onto the national stage — and garnered over 2.3 million views on YouTube. Watch the video, read the story, and check out our commentary below to see what you can learn from her example:

Teen Girl’s Pro-Gun Video Gets 2.3 Million Hits

Yahoo News • April 8, 2013 • Jilian Fama

A teenage girl skyrocketed to the center of the gun control debate when a YouTube video of her three-minute pro-gun speech went viral, acquiring more than 2.3 million views.

Sarah Merkle, 15 of Maryland, has been shooting guns for almost eight years and is a member of the Maryland Rifle Club and Maryland State Rifle Club. She says in the video that signing anti-gun legislation would not be doing away with gun violence but rather “liberating American citizens of our constitutional rights.”

Merkle, who says that her favorite rifle is a Bushmaster, makes a gripping plea to legislators who are considering passing legislation to enact stricter gun control laws.

In her testimony, Merkle tells that she has become eligible for various shooting scholarships at prestigious universities, and the laws proposed would interfere with her eligibility to join their shooting teams.

“Achieving stricter gun control laws would obliterate any opportunity I could have had to attend a decent college on a shooting scholarship,” she says.

A provision in the Maryland law makes it more difficult for residents to transport their firearms across the state border. In the case of Merkle, it is problematic because she would be unable to shoot at a range that is located over the border in nearby Delaware. Stricter gun laws would hinder her ability to practice.

In her plea in front of Maryland State Legislature in Annapolis, Merkle says that guns are not the problem, people are.

“Purging our society of violence and murder cannot be done by gun control legislation.” She continues, saying that in passing legislation,”You are not eliminating guns from society but eliminating our ability to protect our lives, liberty and pursuits of happiness.”

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Regardless of what position you take on gun control, we can all learn from Sarah’s example. As far back as the young prophet Jeremiah in 626 BC, young people have been responding to the call of God with some variation of, “But I don’t know how to speak, I am only a kid. No one will listen to me anyway!” Sarah’s story suggests a different reality — one where our youth is an asset, not a liability.

Sarah’s video got 2.3 million views because she is 15 — not in spite of it. Let’s be honest, Sarah wasn’t saying anything that hundreds of middle-age men haven’t already said. Moreover, her delivery wasn’t stellar. No doubt she was nervous. She spoke quickly. She was mostly reading from her notes. But 2.3 million people heard her speech because her age was a megaphone.

Of course, it helped that she had written a good speech. Yes, it helped that gun control is a huge, hot-button topic. But ultimately, Sarah’s age was the highlight of her video. Despite the rampant low expectations (or perhaps, because of them) our world is desperate for teens who care, who are informed, and who speak up.

What about you? What issues do you care about? Have you decided to keep quiet because “no one will care”? Have you told yourself no one will listen because of your age? Consider what Sarah was able to accomplish and change your perspective. Start viewing your age as an asset — a gift to be carefully stewarded — and use the megaphone while you have it.

How will you use your megaphone?


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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.


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  • Way to go girl!! This is such a great example of the Hard or Big things we can do, especially at our age! This is a blessing and a second wind to do something big! Hope this will encourage and inspire others like it did to me! Thanks for posting,

    Your sister in Christ,

  • I agree Sandyhook was a terrible incident but gun control is not the answer. Child control is, this wouldn’t happen if parents kept guns away from children. Criminals will still get any gun they want no matter what law is in place. The public needs to be armed to protect themselves from these wicked killers.

    • I completely agree with you Wes and with Sarah. Parents should watch over there kids more carefully and keep guns away from them.

    • Children should be taught gun safety at an age the parents deem appropriate. I am thirteen and have been shooting my air soft gun since I was seven and a .22 pistol since I was nine. GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. I completely agree with Sarah Merkle!!

  • I agree w/ Wes’s comment. Although I didn’t understand much of what Sarah was saying, I do know that this is something my father and many of his contemporaries talk of a lot. It reminds me of a poem I’ve read recently, though I can’t remember who wrote it. The subject of the poem was the incident at the Connecticut schoolhouse back during the Christmas season. It goes as follows:
    Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
    When 20 beautiful children stormed through Heaven’s gate.
    Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    …They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
    They were filled with such joy; they didn’t know what to say.
    They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
    “Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
    “This is heaven” declared a small boy, “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
    When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
    But Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
    He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
    Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
    And in that moment was joy, that only Heaven can bring
    Those children all flew into the arms of their King.
    And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
    One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
    And as if He could read all the questions she had
    He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of Mom and Dad.”
    Then He looked down on Earth, at the world far below
    He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
    Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
    “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!
    May this country be delivered from the hands of fools
    “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
    Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
    “Come now my children let me show you around.”
    Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
    All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
    And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
    “In the midst of this darkness, I am still the light.”

    It’s so beautiful, and true…In the midst of this darkness, He is still the light.
    Spread the word. Pray for this nation. The days ahead will be darker than night; the devil has his hand on our nation. We must fight his hold with all of our might.

  • This is such an encouraging video about what we can do to step up whether I believe something about one side or the other because it is about her doing hard things.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →