New Hampshire high school students protest gun violence

  • Counter-protesting students, including Steven West, 17, of Concord and Jonathan Jett, 17, of Derryfield, held up their own signs as a students in support of gun control rallied in front of the State House in Concord on Friday as part of a national school walkout event on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. AP PHOTO/ELIZABETH FRANTZ

  • Students from across New Hampshire rally and visit offices of their local representatives at the State House in Concord on Friday as part of a national school walkout event on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. AP PHOTO/ELIZABETH FRANTZ

Associated Press
Published: 4/20/2018 9:53:51 PM

CONCORD, N.H. — High school students holding signs bemoaning gun violence stormed the New Hampshire statehouse on Friday to challenge gun laws that are some of the least restrictive in the country.

The protest was one of several thousand across the country held on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School killings. Nationwide, students left their classrooms 10 a.m. for a moment of silence or to attend nearby rallies. “This is Democracy,” some chanted while others carried signs that read “Enough is Enough.” Others stayed at school to discuss gun control and conduct voter registration drives for their peers.

In New Hampshire, several hundred students directed their anger at the state Senate’s rejection of a bill in March that would have allowed local communities to ban guns in schools. Some went inside and lobbied lawmakers to tighten restrictions on guns in the state.

“It’s a scary world to live in when even your dreams at night are about school shootings,” said Carley Kanter, 17, a Hopkinton High School senior, who joined her classmates from Concord, Exeter, Durham, Plymouth and Northwood. “I’m looking forward to engaging with our senators on why they made that disappointing decision.”

A smaller group of about 30 counter protesters also showed up in support of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

“Not having the same opinion as much of the mass media and most of your other classmates is looked down upon, and you do get ostracized,” said Brennan Adams, an 18-year-old senior at Concord High School. “It’s nice in some sense to come here and see that there are like-minded people.”

Gun rights supporters were far outnumbered by those speaking out about gun violence. Though they were marching on the anniversary of Columbine High School killings in Colorado, many had the Parkland shootings on their minds. Friday’s action was planned by a Connecticut teenager, Lane Murdock, after a gunman stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, leaving 17 people dead.

Stephen Peroff, a junior at Northwood Academy, is transferring to Parkland next year. He grew up in Parkland but never attended the school, though he knows several students who go there but were not hurt in the shooting.

“Gun control is something that has been a long time coming,” Peroff said. “Change feels more likely to happen now because the Parkland students, and students like us, are old enough to speak out and hold legislators accountable.”




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