More than 1,000 Memphians have registered for a march planned here on Saturday to rally against gun violence in schools.
Organized by a group of local young people, the march in Memphis is one of 838 planned worldwide as a part of the national March for Our Lives movement — one that formed in the wake of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that claimed the lives of 14 students and three faculty members. “Answering the call to action” of the surviving students, organizers formed the movement to demand that safety be a priority in schools, while gun violence and mass shootings occur less.
“No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country,” the March for Our Lives’ mission reads.
Beginning at 10 a.m., marchers here sharing the same goals as the national organizers, will walk from Clayborn Temple to the National Civil Rights Museum, “demanding that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”
Specifically the group is asking that elected officials do three things. The first is ban assault rifles, which were used in seven of the country’s 10 deadliest mass shootings in the past decade.
They are also pushing for the sale of high-capacity magazines, which allows the shooter to discharge more bullets at time than normal, be prohibited.
Finally, organizers want to close the loopholes that allow people to buy guns on online, at gun shows, and from other non-traditional places that don’t require undergoing a background check.
A petition demanding that these three issues be addressed is on the March for our Lives website, and so far, it has just under 270,000 supporters.
In Memphis, a number of high school students who weren’t able to participate in National Walkout Day on March 14th because of spring break, plan to walk out of class on April 20th.
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson said on Wednesday that he supports the walkouts, as long as “it’s done in an orderly fashion.”
“No students will be suspended or expelled for taking part in this event,” he said. “No teachers will be disciplined for being supportive of these students.”