SALT LAKE CITY – Several dozen protesters come to the Capitol steps to send a message to lawmakers, demanding more action regarding gun control and school safety. They performed a “die in,” as they laid still for 22 minutes in memory of the victims of the 22 school shootings that have happened across the country since the beginning of the year.
Sandy resident Lisa Reese came to support her son. She says, “I think today was just one of those days when you see it happen again… it was just a couple of months ago when it happened in Parkland, and you think maybe the parents need to start stepping up.”
The protesters who laid on the floor mostly consisted of older teens who say they’re tired of going to school and wondering if they’re going to survive the day. March For Our Lives Co-Founder Abena Bakenra says she constantly looks for places to hide at school, just in case a shooting happens.
“Just yesterday, at my high school, a student was arrested for the possession of a gun. It’s the fourth time that’s happened specifically at my high school, this year,” Bakenra says.
Her group is not calling for a ban on all firearms. However, she says this can be a tricky message to get across since there are other gun reform groups that are calling for such a ban. She believes that could be one reason why many people don’t want to talk about tighter laws.
“Immediately, people go all the way right and say, ‘Oh, you want to get rid of the guns.’ It’s kind of hard to focus the conversation when there are so many groups fighting for different things under the same term,” she says.
People who oppose new laws say many of the solutions that anti-gun groups are proposing have been tried in other parts of the country, and have failed.
Clark Aposhian with the Utah Shooting Sports Council says, “Some ‘red flag’ laws have some merit and some just frankly don’t. A ‘red flag’ law would not have affected today’s shooter. Universal background checks would not have affected him.”
He believes making tougher gun laws will only add a false sense of security for many people.
“Until we start looking at the individual and not at the tool that is being used, we are going to continue to see these,” Aposhian says.
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