Kalamazoo Central students rally for gun reform at state Capitol

Posted at 5:47 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 17:47:23-05

LANSING, Mich. -- Talia Edmonds, a Kalamazoo Central High School senior, voiced her concerns on gun violence which continues to claim innocent lives across the country. She and her classmates band together on the steps of the state Capitol at an event organized by candidates seeking state and national office.

"We are sick of the government idly sitting by and watching innocent children be slaughtered time and time again," Edmonds told the crowd.

Robert Van Kirk, an organizer and 77th district candidate said, "The reason why I organized this today was because we have to put pressure on legislators for common sense gun legislation."

Co-organizer Robert Davidson, a U.S. House candidate said, "Our legislators are cowards in the face of NRA and special interests that are not allowing them to make common sense legislation that can keep our kids safe."

So seniors from Central High are applying that pressure and pledging to standby students in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were murdered at a high school, until something changes.

Edmonds said, "They're high schoolers just like us. They go through their hallways everyday just like us thinking that nothing like this could ever happen to them, and then it did. So it really hits close to home cause they're just trying to get an education just like us everyday."

An online petition created by the Central High students has gone viral. So far, there are over 112,000 signatures from people supporting gun reform. The students are just hoping lawmakers in Lansing and Washington DC are paying attention and will take action.

Reuben Glasser, a Kalamazoo Central senior said, "We're really interested in bipartisan support because gun laws.. it's not just about democrats or republicans. It's about the safety of the people because the safety of the people matters much more than the party you're apart of."

The 17 and 18-year-olds spoke one on one with as many Lansing lawmakers as they could on Thursday.

Jenna Bowker said, "We want them to hear our voice whether they want to or not."

She added, "Most of us cannot vote for them, and this is the only way that they can hear our voices."

"We just gotta keep pushing until something is done. We're not going to stop," Bowker stated.

Specific proposals from people at the rally included: universal background checks, waiting periods, and protective orders. Protective orders would result if law enforcement or loved ones can prove a person is a potential danger to themselves or others. In that case, access to a firearm would be restricted.

There is pending legislation in Lansing that reflects some of these points.