Like many across the country, Baltimore students want to see sensible gun laws in the wake of the deadly schools shooting in Parkland, Fla.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students walked out of class and marched to City Hall to protest gun violence and demand stricter gun control legislation. A number of local schools took part in the protest, including Baltimore City College, Baltimore School for the Arts and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, among others, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Tuesday’s march comes nearly a month after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 and injuring several others. Students who survived the grisly attack have since become leading voices in the call for gun reform, inspiring teens across the country to do the same.
“Students were willing to walk out, to let go of whatever test or project they had and put their energy towards the protection of their friends,” Cassuis Comfort, a student at the Friends School of Baltimore, told the Baltimore Sun.
The large crowd of students chanted “Grades Up! Guns Down!” as they marched nearly five miles to the plaza outside City Hall, where they were addressed by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and city Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa.
The students came equipped with more than catchy chants, however. They also compiled a list of demands, including one calling on Maryland lawmakers to support new gun legislation. One bill, dubbed the “red flag law” would allow judges to temporarily order gun owners to surrender their weapons if they’re deemed a danger to themselves or the public, according to the newspaper. The other demands a ban on detachable magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
“Everyone is just so used to the violence and gun threats and children fearing for their lives,” said Elizabeh Sacktor, a sophomore at Baltimore School for the Arts. “I’m participating to remind people in power that this is an issue. Children should not fear for our lives while trying to get an education.”
Other students who participated in Tuesday’s march said they want lawmakers to hear their voices and heed their concerns.
According to Mayor Pugh, the city is organizing 60 free buses that will send local students to a national school walkout in Washington, D.C. That march is set to take place later his month.