GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Hundreds of thousands across the nation have been voicing their concerns and marching for gun control reform over the last weeks and months.
West Michigan students continued to press for change by holding a gathering to express concerns about gun violence and safety in our communities.
On Saturday, dozens of people attended Fountain Street Church to discuss gun reform and why it’s important to spread the message even after the march.
“If we don’t continue to this and keep going nothing to going to happen, “said student Kevin Portinga. “And all that driving out to D.C., going to that trip, getting everyone there, all that energy, having that protest is not going to be anything.”
Portinga described the driving force creating their “Town Hall for Our Lives” gathering to continue to keep gun control in the spotlight.
“This is important to me because I don’t want to have that fear, I don’t want to have to think about that during my classes,” he said.
Those in attendance heard from two Democratic candidates for Congress.
“The NRA is buying too many law makers, so we have to put an end to that and vote people in that are not bought,” said candidate Cathy Albro.
“This isn’t 1968, last week we observed the anniversary of Martin Luther King, said candidate Fred Wooden. “That was also the year we had major gun legislation in the United States, it’s 50 years old, [and] it’s time we update that.”
Republican US Representative Justin Amash was invited and unfortunately unable to attend.
Portinga said the lawmaker gave them the notice that he couldn’t make it only a few days ago. It wasn’t enough time for them to reschedule.
“I simply wish he could have told me when I talked to him 2 weeks ago when I was planning this,” said junior Caleb Heckman.
The student went onto say he would have considered a couple alternative days, so Amash could attend.
Students said it’s rewarding and makes the future look hopeful by seeing many adults supporting change in gun legislation.