RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A group of North Carolina college students, many of whom were at UNC Chapel Hill during last month’s shooting on campus, are pushing for stronger gun laws.
They were escorted out of the House gallery after interrupting lawmakers with chants of “Vote them out!”
Earlier in the day, students rallied outside the General Assembly and spoke with lawmakers inside, sharing their fear and anger after a deadly shooting on campus two weeks ago.
“We sat there on the floor for three hours, trying not to think about the fact that the shooter was only a couple buildings away, and we couldn’t escape the windows that surrounded us,” recalled Hailey Baldwin.
Students say experiencing the lockdown and shooting changed them, and now they’re pushing for change.
“We have had shooting, after shooting, after shooting, for decades, yet we don’t ever seem to do anything about it,” said UNC Chapel Hill senior Luke Diasio.
They spent the day urging lawmakers in the Republican-led General Assembly to consider stronger gun laws. Students pulled legislators aside to share their experiences.
Republican Jimmy Dixon, who represents Duplin County, said of the students efforts, “It certainly catches my attention,” but added, “To encapsulate what’s taking place in our society today as gun violence, I think, misses the point.”
UNC student, Amy Boakye, pointed out that many lawmakers were not raised dealing with lockdowns and school shootings.
“I know you aren’t listening to me or the millions of other young people screaming for change because you’ve never had to think about whether you’re going to be shot while just sitting and trying to learn in history class,” she said.
Democratic lawmakers joined the students for a news conference, but said that they are not proposing new legislation because any gun legislation they’ve proposed recently hasn’t made it out of committee.
Chapel Hill students were joined by a student from North Carolina A&T University. The school also recently experienced a shooting on campus.
Other activists also attended the rally and chanted in the gallery before being led out of the building.