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Second annual March for our Lives held in downtown Iowa City

Students and activists gathered to protest against school shootings and for stronger gun legislation.

Students+from+all+around+the+district+march+from+College+Green+park+to+the+Pentacrest+in+the+second+annual+March+for+Our+Lives+on+Saturday%2C+March+30.
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Second annual March for our Lives held in downtown Iowa City

Students from all around the district march from College Green park to the Pentacrest in the second annual March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 30.

Students from all around the district march from College Green park to the Pentacrest in the second annual March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 30.

Gwen Watson

Students from all around the district march from College Green park to the Pentacrest in the second annual March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 30.

Gwen Watson

Gwen Watson

Students from all around the district march from College Green park to the Pentacrest in the second annual March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 30.

The second annual March for our Lives took place in downtown Iowa City on Saturday, March 30. The event, coordinated by West and City High Students Against School Shootings (SASS) members, protested school shootings and lack of gun control legislation in the U.S. Although the event experienced decreased turnout from 2018, for protestors who showed up, gun control is no less of a prevalent issue.

After marching from College Green Park to the Ped Mall, the event began with a poem read by Charlotte Ramirez, an eighth grader at South East Junior High.

“In the poem, I focused on the idea of being able to be safe where we live because I have anxiety and [school shootings] make it hard for me to feel safe,” said Ramirez. “The idea that people have these things that can hurt me no matter when or where heightens my anxiety and makes it even hard to exist in the city.”

While Ramirez does admit that the abundance of gun violence in the U.S. frightens her, she does not support the outlawing of guns.

“I’m not saying that guns should be banned, we’re just asking for protection. Don’t we deserve to feel safe? At our schools, walking in our streets, shopping for food, or is that too much to ask?” said Ramirez.

Ramirez was followed by Holly Sanger, a member of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America. Sanger emphasized fighting strict scrutiny legislation that has been introduced into the Iowa congress which would make accessing firearms much easier. Strict scrutiny works by allowing individuals to challenge the state on grounds of discrimination, in this case on accessing guns.

“Let’s say a felon gets out of jail and wants to have a gun, and there’s a law that says felons can’t have guns. He can challenge that law and, under strict scrutiny, he’s probably going to be able to get that gun,” said Sanger. “Part of the problem is it is actually costing the states a fortune to defend all these cases, so they’re not defending them.”

Sanger continued on to directly address the important role young people play in confronting gun violence.

“You’re the future. And you’ve got the power to change things at the ballet box, and you’re being affected,” said Sanger.

Gwen-Watson
Holly Singer, an active member of Moms Demand Action, delivers a speech detailing gun laws and regulations in the US and Iowa.

The event concluded with a speech by City High lead organizer Mira Bohannan Kumar ‘20.

Attendee Isabelle Paulsen ‘21 was glad to see the issues of gun violence and gun control back in the spotlight.

“I think that [the] most important things from [rallies like these] is that gun violence is less normalized, because you always hear stories about school shootings and you kinda say, ‘Oh, that’s sad’ and then it is not really talked about much more,” said Paulsen. “So I think events like this are really good to make them more recognized and put more awareness towards [school shootings].”

For more in-depth data on gun violence in America, you can visit everytownresearch.org or justfacts.com.

Infographic by Sidney Kiersch

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About the Contributors
Ken Wilbur, Reporter

Ken Wilbur is a junior at West and a second-year staffer on West Side Story. While not interviewing sources or writing articles, Ken can be found running...

Gwen Watson, Photographer

Gwen Watson is a sophomore and this will be their first year on staff as a photographer. In their free time they enjoy most things music related and being...

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