Students Invade Downtown St. Louis For Anti-Gun Violence Rally

"Common sense gun legislation needs to be passed through Congress, and until that happens, our politicians are not doing their best to protect us."

Brett Blume
April 20, 2018 - 1:32 pm

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Downtown St. Louis around the Old Post Office echoed with young voices of protest Friday afternoon.

"Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go!" was among the rallying cries, as more than 200 students from schools all throughout the St. Louis region converged on Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's St. Louis office.

The protestors said they picked that spot as a rallying point because they claim Hawley is funded by the National Rifle Association.

"Today we stand together because gun violence in every form, from mass shootings to school shootings to inner city gun violence, is unacceptable," exclaimed one of the featured speakers during the event.

Among those on hand was Kaya Blount, a junior at University City High School.

"The youth are actually at the vanguard of this revolution, I guess you could say," Blount says. "Because if the youth give up, then like society kind of crumbles. So we have to be the ones talking about gun reform."

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

One of the co-organizers of the rally, MICDS senior Lauren Malloy, discussed her motivation for speaking out on the need for stricter gun laws.

"Common sense gun legislation needs to be passed through Congress, and until that happens, our politicians are not doing their best to protect us," she said. "We're the first generation that's had to grow up with school shooter drills, and we're also the ones who are impacted by the fact that our politicians are doing nothing.

For two hours, students marched around the Old Post Office carrying signs saying, "Who's making laws? Congress or the NRA?" and, "I want to live long enough to graduate."

Kanidra Woods with Students Demand Action pledged to keep speaking out in favor of stricter gun laws for as long as that message needs to be heard.

"This noise is our action, and it speaks louder than words," she said of the loud chanting and cheering from the large group of students. "We're going to keep marching, we're going to keep walking out, and we're going to keep protesting until something is done!"

At one point early in the rally, an angry older man marched directly toward the students up front running the rally, giving them the finger and profanely ordering them to disperse.

He was quickly shouted down by the throng of students and eventually led away from the gathering by police officers, although he was not taken into custody.

The rally was among many held locally and around the nation on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, with memories of the 17 killed at a Parkland, Florida High School just two months ago still fresh on everyone's conscience.