Asheville students protest gun violence at downtown rally

Student protestors with signs
STOP SIGNS: Many students at the downtown rally on April 19 carried handmade posters to protest gun violence. Photo by Daniel Walton

Several hundred students from Asheville-area schools gathered in front of the Vance Monument before marching to Pack Square Park on Friday, April 20, in protest of gun violence and support of gun law reform. The rally, organized by student leaders from Odyssey High School, was part of a nationwide student walkout on the anniversary of the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Chanting slogans such as “No more silence, end gun violence” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go,” the students toted handmade signs while streaming into Pack Square Park. Odyssey student leaders and North Carolina General Assembly District 115 representative John Ager then spoke to the assembled crowd.

As explained in their press release about the event, the Odyssey student leaders hoped to express support for three specific pieces of national legislation: H.R.4268, the “Gun Safety: Not Sorry Act of 2017”; S.2009, the “Background Check Expansion Act”; and S.1916, the “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act.” Taken together, these bills would add a waiting period for certain firearms and accessories, require background checks for currently exempt sales and ban bump-fire stocks of the type used in a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.




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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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14 thoughts on “Asheville students protest gun violence at downtown rally

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    young skulls of mush, getting out of class again…do they EVER learn anything in government screwls ?

    • Lulz

      Public schools are for Marxist indoctrination. It’s why these kids have the mentality of 10 year olds. And are telling us all they’re too young to keep their rights. Literally they’re willing to give up their rights for supposed safety. And will end up without that as well.

  2. BRO

    So great to see our young people actively taking part in democracy, regardless of old farts who say obnoxious things to them. :)

    • Lulz

      LOL raise the age to buy a gun to 21. Brought to you by 16 and 17 year olds who admit they aren’t anywhere close to becoming adults. High schoolers it seems are actually preschoolers lulz.

      • Phillip Williams

        Heck – raise the legal age for everything to 21. If the government figures a person cannot be expected to safely and legally use a firearm, buy tobacco products or hold his/her liquor, then it seems that a person shouldn’t be trusted to pilot a 2000+ lb hunk of metal and rubber down a highway at speeds of 55mph and higher – nor should they be entrusted with the future of the Nation via the vote – nor should they be expected to risk life and limb in the service of the Nation.

        While we’re at it, consider raising the statutory rape threshold to 21. Raise the age to 21 for marriage, getting full access to the Internet, seeing X or R rated movies, obtaining credit, etc…..I bet those notions would fly like a lead balloon….

        • BRO

          I agree – either yo u are a legal adult and can go to war, get married, go to jail and buy a drink OR you are not.

    • Me

      You support truancy?

      Also, so much misinformation in those signs. Especially the one about the holes in the sign. Sooooooo ignorant.

  3. Stan Hawkins

    As a conservative leaning gun owner, hunter, and supporter of the 2nd amendment; I can absolutely state that I support the “rite “ of adolescents to take a stand for something. It is not for me to pass judgement on their ideals or issues. Naturally, I would prefer that their iniatives would be more organic, but that would be naivety on my part given our media culture.

    Why would a conservative take this position? Because, everyone needs to feel they are important and have hope for the future. The stakes are higher than their issue. It is that hope for something that adults can help them build on. Possibly, and maybe an unintended consequence, their hope for change may be the very thing that saves them from the jaws of defeat as a human being in development.

    During the period of an adolescent teen myself, there was a period where I was quite rudderless. I was blind to the consequences of the energy that I channeled in to meaningless activity. This is also when I would come home after high school, turn on the TV, and stare at the tube with confusion. The Watergate hearings were all over the afternoon three TV channels during this period.

    There was no dominant male figure engaged in my life to help channel my energy into a positive self development, a cause of some sorts, or reinforce any positive actions I might take. As a male adolescent, I became quite the rebel, but with no cause. So, I say which is worse; To have a cause, or to be a sojourner with no cause?

    Provided that these demonstrations are properly supervised by adults, and are peaceful, let’s give them some space to develop as adolescents. We may be surprised by the consequences of their actions on their lives.

    • Lulz

      Difference is back corporal punishment and accountability were the norm. Now we have nuts who threaten the President, are let go and end up taking an AR-15 into a Waffle House. Or get the cops called on them 50 times, admit to wanting to be a school shooter and end up being just that. While everyone acts shocked that it actually happened.

      Culling the rights of law abiding while simply ignoring the lunatics is terrifying. And all for POLITICS. There’s simply no excuse for not incarcerating these people before someone dies.

      These kids are foolish, lack the facts, and are being manipulated emotionally by people that are evil.

    • luther blissett

      You may indeed be surprised what a generation of young adults who’ve spent their entire lives being told how to hide from mass shooters thinks about guns, and continues to think about guns as they begin to have children of their own. And they don’t need any supervision, given that it’s the adults who’ve decided that they should live through that in order that they can continue to fondle their guns.

      • Stan Hawkins

        Your point is well noted. However, shouldn’t we be more concerned about the human development of adolescents which we may be in agreement on? It seems that it is mostly adolescents, or shortly thereafters’ that are those perpetuating this violence.

        An “engaged with adolescents” adult, i.e. – parent / guardian / counselor / teacher / pastor may have many different political views about our civil rights and the constitution of the US. A healthy debate among these influencers with the adolescents seems like a better way to getting back to the basics of their development.

        To remove these adults from the engaged equation (supervision of minors) while replacing with all other sources, invites an unknown number of influences into their lives. This, does not seem like a wise decision given that this violence has it’s origin with this age group.

        Surely, we should not point the finger at an adult group just because they are law abiding citizens, free to debate the issues of the day, including how best to engage with and protect those most dear to us along with our future?

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