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Anchorage gathers in solidarity with national gun reform marches

Organizers hold up a banner for March For Our Lives Alaska, asking for signatures (Photo by Victoria Petersen/ Alaska Public Media)

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Delaney Park Strip in Downtown Anchorage on Saturday in solidarity with the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C.

In about 26-degree weather, the March For Our Lives Anchorage chapter began the event with speeches from local student organizers. Among them was Keegan Blain, a junior at AJ Dimond High School.

“We all believe that no more innocent children need to lose their life if what is supposed to be a safe place,” Blain said.

Student organizer Keegan Blain (Photo by Victoria Petersen/ Alaska Public Media)

Among the demands from the organizers is increasing the age of firearm ownership from 18 to 21. They say high schoolers shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. High school junior James Schultz was one of the speakers at the March.

“If you buy a gun at 21, you’re not gonna be having a gun while you’re also enrolled in a school,” Schultz said. “You’d have it be in a college which has a lot more safeguards in place”

Currently Alaska residents can conceal carry firearms without a permit at 21, however most universities in the state don’t allow firearms to be carried without administrative approval.

The organizers also seek to require background checks for gun show purchases and reclassify certain weapons and ammunition magazines as military grade.

Student organizers used megaphones to interact with the crowd (Photo by Victoria Petersen/ Alaska Public Media)

In a state where about 62% of adults own firearms, the organizers assured the audience that their movement does not have the end goal of taking away people’s firearms.

“I don’t want to take away your 2nd amendment rights. I’ve got family members that have guns. What we want is gun reforms,” Schultz said. “So we want it to be harder to get a gun, but easy enough that if you’re healthy and you’re doing all the right things, you can get one.”

With signs showing varying messages such as Thoughts and Prayers are not Bulletproof and Books Not Bullets, participants lapped around the Park Strip marching and chanting phrases like “Spread love, not hate. We just want to graduate.”

Source: pps Alaska

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