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AZ Students Confront Lawmakers on Gun Safety at Town Hall

The student-led group March for Our Lives Arizona hosted a town hall meeting with local lawmakers to discuss their agenda to curb gun violence. (guruXOX/AdobeStock)
The student-led group March for Our Lives Arizona hosted a town hall meeting with local lawmakers to discuss their agenda to curb gun violence. (guruXOX/AdobeStock)
August 30, 2019

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona politicians got the chance to hear from future voters this week at a town hall meeting on gun violence held by the student group March for Our Lives.

The gun-control advocates, made up mostly of high school and college students, formed as part of a national movement after a deadly mass shooting incident at a high school in Florida last year.

Induja Kumar, co-communications director and a leader of the group's Arizona chapter, says they were taking advantage of the congressional recess to pressure lawmakers to stop gun violence in schools and elsewhere.

"We have to make sure that our legislators are accountable, and right now they're not,” says Kumar. “They make empty promises which they are failing to fulfill. And so, we're using this town hall as a place to say 'Hey, you promised this to us. When are you going to fulfill that?' "

About 10 current members of Congress or the state Legislature were at the meeting, along with several candidates. However, neither of Arizona's U.S. Senators were there.

March for Our Lives Arizona emerged a little over a year ago when 30 members held a "die-in" at the State Capitol to call attention to mass shootings. They called for state legislators to enact tighter gun-safety laws, but lawmakers took no action.

Kumar says while many in the group come from middle-class families, they are reaching out to others who often face gun violence in their neighborhoods.

"There have been kids, especially in urban communities, fighting the same fight that we have been for the last two years, but they've been doing it for so much longer,” says Kumar. “One thing we're really trying to do, especially in Arizona, is give credit to those kids who suffer from gun violence in the streets."

She says legal gun owners have nothing to fear from their movement.

"The thing to recognize is we are not compromising American values,” says Kumar. “When we say we want gun-violence prevention, we just want to make sure that you can have your gun rights, but we also need to be living in a society that is safe for kids to go to school in."

Since the group's 2018 March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., students have held similar gatherings in more than 100 cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ