Local March For Our Lives Rally Advocates For Gun Control

Photo by Baxter Turain

Photo by Baxter Turain

Jessica Deyo

The Ohio University College Democrats (OUCD) hosted a March For Our Lives rally Saturday morning in support of the movement created by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day of this year.

Protesters gathered at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial auditorium at 10 a.m. and marched around the block surrounding College Green. Several guest speakers spoke on behalf of the movement about the need for gun law reform. 

“I shouldn’t be worrying about where I’m going to hide in my French classroom, an entire wall of which is windows,” says Athens High School sophomore Nora Sullivan. “I shouldn’t be worrying about my teachers, who I know wouldn’t hesitate to jump in front of a bullet to save any student.”

Bailey Williams, a sophomore in the Honors Tutorial College and the membership director of the OUCD, hosted the rally to allow the local community to voice their concerns. 

“This is a horrible tragedy that strikes too many American families far too often,” Williams says. “Something needs to change.”

The March For Our Lives movement was established by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, where 17 students were shot and killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, just over a month ago. Since then, the survivors have pushed for stricter gun legislation. 

“It’s sad that it has to be left up to high school students to take up issues that affect every American because our elected officials are too scared to do so,” Williams says. 

Community member Beverly Flanigan attended the rally with some of her friends. She voiced her strong support for the Stoneman Douglas survivors.

“Thinking back on when I was 17, I was very bold and political,” she said, “I had exactly this kind of fire… we need more of this.”

Currently, Williams said, the gun laws in place have no solid background checks to prevent criminals from obtaining weapons, no mental health evaluations and no safety training. A firearm can be easily purchased through many loopholes, like gun shows.

Meghan Rowe, a freshman studying journalism, is another active supporter of the movement.

 “We march for everyone who has been affected by gun violence,” Rowe says. “Not just school shootings, but for everyone.” 

Rowe carried signs with the words “This isn’t right or left, it’s life or death” and “People over profit,” while protesting at the rally. Other participants carried signs with a variety of messages that advocated for gun control.

“This movement is for every American,” Williams says. “It is to ensure that people don’t have to live their lives in fear of getting struck down by a bullet one day.”

OUCD is not sure what events they will host in the future, but Williams is confident that the gun control debate will not fade away anytime soon.