The movement of high school students calling for action on guns after a bloody rampage that killed 17 people in a Florida high school has made its way to the Utah Capitol. Eight West High School students pulled lawmakers off the House floor on Friday and asked them to support gun-control measures.
“We are fully aware of the right to bear arms,” said Zella Hanson, 16. “But we ask for stronger regulations.”
Students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School quickly headed to the statehouse in Tallahassee to call for gun control, and there are plans for nationwide school walkouts, including in Utah.
Members of the group at the Utah Capitol said they wanted the Legislature to take up gun control in its final two weeks before adjourning on March 8, a prospect senators have said is unlikely.
Nicole Milavetz, 18, said she wanted more action than arming teachers, as has been suggested by President Donald Trump. Milavetz said teachers may not want to carry a gun while teaching students.
“If you wanted to do that you would be a cop,” Milavetz said. “I don’t think I’d feel safe.”
Alex Fierro, 18, talked about a sense of fear wondering if his classmates could have guns with the intention of shooting one another on the school’s campus.
“You’re going to schools that have active gang members,” Fierro said.
Ultimately, after lobbying a handful of lawmakers, the group said they weren’t satisfied with what they’d heard.
“We feel a sense of condescension,” Hanson said.
The House is working on a possible bill that would allow someone to petition a court to temporarily restrict someone’s access to guns if they’re found to be a risk to themselves or others. The arrangement is known as a gun-violence restraining order, or GRVO.
The West High students said if lawmakers propose any legislation on the issue this session, they’ll be back in support. They’ll also participate in the planned march to the Capitol in late March.