Utah students join Parkland survivors in calling for gun law reforms

Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 13:29:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Students here in Utah and across the nation are demanding change exactly one week after a teen opened fire at a Florida high school, killing 17 students and teachers.

“If the adults in our government aren't going to take a stand, then we need to start pushing them to do so,” said Isaac Reese, a Brighton High School student.

Now students are planning to "March For Their Lives", and while the main event will be in Washington DC, thousands are expected to turn out in Salt Lake City.

“It's not going to be talk like it has in the past, it's been going on too long, too many instances, and we're going to get it done,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday during a meeting with students from Florida.

The president, students and parents bowed their heads in prayer Wednesday to start an emotional discussion just one week after the teens lived through the unthinkable.

“I'm a survivor, and I want you all to emphasize the point I survived: I was lucky enough to come home from school unlike some of my classmates and teachers,” said Julia Cordover, a shooting survivor.

While their emotions are still raw, their focus is on change.

“This is not just Parkland anymore, this is America, this every student in every city everywhere,” said Ariana Klein, another shooting survivor.

The pain felt in Florida pierces the hearts of students thousands of miles away, who heard about the school shooting while they were in the classroom.

“I was not surprised but I was sad, because I knew that more students just like me had died,” said Auroua Allen, a Brighton High School student.

Now Utah students are working to turn the trauma into a call for action.

“I think it just shows a lot of students are frustrated with what's happening in our country,” Reese said.

A handful of students are planning a local "March For Our Lives" protest.

“It's more showing we have solidarity for people who lost their lives and the victims, and we want people to know we're serious about reform and change,” said Brandon de Melo, a Skyline High School student.

When asked how many of the students planning the march in Salt Lake had close calls at school, all raised their hands.

From threats of a gunman on campus to hearing shots fired at the university of Utah just months ago.

“Even when we got the news the shooter was so close to us, oh man, this again and now it's me,” said Matthew Davis, who attends SUU.

Students are wanting laws that prevent gun violence, something the president promised Wednesday.

“We are going to be very strong on background checks, and put a very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody,” President Trump said.

But until those changes are made.

“We know this is going to be a process that takes time, that we're going to have to continue to keep fighting,” Reese said.

The march is next month on the 24th. Governor Herbert is flying to DC Thursday for the National Governors Association Meetings, where President Trump says the focus will be on gun reform.

You can learn more about March For Our Lives SLC by visiting the group's Facebook page.