SIOUX CITY — More than 150 people came Wednesday to North High School to discuss ways to end gun violence in schools and other places, in an event kicked off by comments from a student survivor of a February mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school.
“We wanted to demand that morally just leaders are put into office,” Jaclyn Corin said, since the National Rifle Association “has such a stranglehold on lawmakers.”
Corin said she and other students, after the February shooting that killed 17 people, “decided we weren’t going to let the media cover the story the wrong way.”
The survivors have used social media to air views, appeared on news shows and participated with the “Road To Change Tour” that is making Midwest stops through June 29. Among the other Parkland students on hand in Sioux City were Sofie Whitney, Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Casky.
Corin also told the crowd, “You don’t just need to register to vote, you need to get out to the polls. ... We want to build a network of young people across the country to make change.”
After Corin spoke, the tour’s youth meetup at North High saw 45 local and Parkland pupils moving to tables to discuss ways to impact gun laws. They also made posters, then took them for a protest at the downtown Sioux City office of U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, later in the afternoon, where about 100 people turned out.
Said Corin, “Steve King is not a morally just leader.”
Charlotte Miller, of Omaha, was in Sioux City to visit relatives and went to the event. Miller, who is going into eighth grade, said she has been involved in three events seeking to reduce gun violence this spring.
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“This whole year, I’ve been impressed by all these young people making change,” Miller said.
“We need to get people into government who will stop gun violence.”
Everly Ivener, a freshman at North High School, said she participated in Sioux City’s March for Our Lives in the spring. Ivener said she wants to see change in how elected officials respond to constituents.
“They’re not listening to what people in the city and state are telling them and they don’t seem to care,” Ivener said. “A lot of people think this issue is just in D.C. or just in Florida. But actually going to all the states and having everyone come out is a really good thing.”
Kobey Lofton, of westside Chicago, joined the tour after it began. Lofton cited 147 young people under age 21 being killed in gun violence in that metro this year.
“We have become normalized and immune to the gun violence in Chicago,” Lofton said.
There is a 10-point proposal that March For Our Lives and Road To Change leaders advocate in the “How We Save Lives” section of their website. Those include funding gun violence research, requiring universal background checks to buy any firearm and banning high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Corin said the effort is nonpartisan: “It is not Democrat or Republican. It is about saving lives.”
Morgan Matzen of the Sioux City Journal contributed to this report.