Schools from all around the country, including Arizona, saw students walk out on Wednesday for a March for Our Lives movement in an effort to get stricter gun control laws.
Sparked by the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month, students marched to the capitol to speak with politicians about gun control laws. As one student explains, their agenda was to ask for bans on bump stocks, universal background checks and an increase of school counselors on campus.
Jacob Martinez, a junior at Dobson High School, organized the event. He was able to encourage his classmates to spend part of their Spring Break by demonstrating at the capitol. Martinez says the sole purpose of going to the capitol was to influence the legislators to be on the right side of history and not allow party politics to get in the way of the safety of their constituents.
“We met with numerous elected officials of the House and Senate,” Martinez says. “We have students in the governor’s office. We have made many attempts to meet with Governor Ducey and all of our attempts were either denied or ignored. So we marched up to his office to deliver a letter and are now trying to speak with him.”
Dobson students weren’t the only ones to show up. Whether they walked out of their school or it’s how they chose to spend their Spring Break, students from all around the Valley from Tucson to San Tan showed up to voice their frustration. If they weren’t able to walk out, then many students had a 17 minute moment of silence for the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.
Martinez says they were able to speak to elected officials and listen to a House session. They also had a press conference talking about current events, and they are now trying to reach the governor.
The next March for Our Lives event will be another capitol visit on March 24. Martinez says if anyone thought Wednesday’s crowd was impressive, just wait until the next event.
For more information of March for Our Lives, go to marchforourlives.com.
TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON. I AM TED SIMONS. ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS JOINED A NATION-WIDE WALKOUT TO HONOR 17-FLORIDA STUDENTS KILLED IN A SCHOOL SHOOTING ONE MONTH AGO TODAY. WALKOUTS OCCURED AT DOZENS OF AREA SCHOOLS, WITH A NUMBER OF ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS ALSO TAKING PART. AND, STUDENTS GATHERED AT THE STATE CAPITOL, TO SEND A MESSAGE TO LAWMAKERS.
LINDSAY SCHAWELSON (SOT) - WE ARE ASKING THEM FOR BANS ON BUMP STOCKS, UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS. WE DO NOT WANT ARMED TEACHERS. WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE WE ARE SAFE IN SCHOOL.
IT DOES NOT MATTER IF THEY DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH US. EVENTUALLY, THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. WE ARE NOT GOING TO STOP. WE WILL KEEP GOING. WE HAVE TIME. WE HAVE PLENTY OF TIME. YOU WILL BE OUT OF OFFICE IN A COUPLE OF YEARS ANYWAY. WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO VOTE, AND WE WILL HAPPY TO VOTE YOU OUT.
TED SIMONS: JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT TODAY'S DEMONSTRATION IS JACOB MARTINEZ WITH MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, WHICH ORGANIZED THE EVENT. WHERE DID YOU GO TO HIGH SCHOOL?
JACOB MARTINEZ: I AM A JUNIOR AT DOBSON HIGH SCHOOL.
TED SIMONS: DOBSONS PARTICIPATION TODAY? WERE THERE A LOT OF KIDS INVOLVED TODAY?
WE ARE ON SPRING BREAK, ACTUALLY, SO WHAT WE DID IS WE GOT AS MANY STUDENTS AS WE CAN TO TAKE TIME OFF THEIR SPRING BREAK TO COME TO THE CAPITOL AND DEMONSTRATE WITH US.
TED SIMONS: I SHOULD MENTION, RIGHT NOW AS WE ARE BROADCASTING, STUDENTS ARE CHANTING, “SHAME ON DUCEY AND CALL B.S. TO THE GOVERNOR.” WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN THESE DEMONSTATION?
JACOB MARTINEZ: WE WANT STRICT BACKGROUND CHECKS. WE WANT TO BAN BUM STOCKS AND TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR COUNSELORS ON SCHOOL CAMPUSES. WE WENT TO THE CAPITAL WITH THE SOLE IDEA TO INFLUENCE LEGISLATE TO TAKE A STAND NOT LET POLITICS GET IN THE WAY OF THE SAFETY OF THE CONSTITUENTS.
TED SIMONS: WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE DID YOU GET?
WE MET WITH NUMEROUS ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE. THE ISSUE YOU HAVE MENTION RIGHT NOW. WE HAVE STUDENT IN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. WE MADE MANY ATTEMPTS TO MEET WITH GOVERNOR DUCEY. THE ATTEMPTS WERE DENIED OR IGNORED. WE MARCHED UP TO THE CAPITOL WITH A LETTER AND ARE TRYING TO SEE HIM NOW. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
TED SIMONS: SO FOR YOUR SCHOOL IT IS SPRING BREAK. OTHER SCHOOL THERE WAS A WALK OUT IN 17-MINUTE TO HONOR THE VICTIMS. HOW WAS ALL THIS ORGANIZED?
JACOB MARTINEZ: THE POWER OF GRASSROOTS. WE HAVE STUDENTS AROUND PARTICIPATING BELIEVING IN WHAT WE ARE DOING. STUDENTS WALKED OUT IN ALL PARTS OF THE STATE, ENCOURAGED TO HAVE A MOMENT OF SILENCE OR CALL THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS OR JOIN US ATCAPITOL, AND THAT IS WHAT THEY DID. COMING AS FAR AS PEORIA, SAN TAN AND EVEN FURTHER.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS ORGANIZING, THIS SCHOOL IS DOING IT, WE HAVE TO DO IT. OR THAT SCHOOL'S DOING IT. THIS SCHOOL SHOULD GET INVOLVED.
JACOB MARTINEZ: I WOULD NOT SAY IT IS A BANDWAGON, BUT STUDENTS BELIEVE IN THIS CAUSE. WE MENTIONED THAT MANY SCHOOLS ARE ON SPRING BREAK. IF STUDENTS DID NOT CARE, THEY WOULD NOT BE HERE AND I THINK THAT WAS A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE ARE NOT BACKING DOWN ON THE ISSUE.
TED SIMONS: AT THE CAPITOL, WERE THERE SPEAKERS? OR OTHER ACTIVITES? WHAT WENT ON TODAY?
JACOB MARTINEZ: WE MEET WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE MORNING, WE WENT AND LISTENED TO THE HOUSE SESSION AND HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT THE ACTIONS TAKING PLACE, THEN WE WENT TO MARCH TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE.
TED SIMONS: WE HAVE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS IN A SECOND. I AM GOING TO ASK THEM ABOUT THIS STUFF. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF IDEAS REGARDING FLOATING AROUND THE LEGISLATURE REGARDING GUN CONTROL MEASURES AND SUCH. YOU MENTIONED BUMP STOCKS AND THESE THINGS. DOES THIS COALESCE INTO ONE THING OR ARE YOU JUST SAYING DOING SOMETHING? WHATS THE DEAL HERE.
JACOB MARTINEZ: WHAT WE SAID, COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECKS, BANNING BUMP STOCKS AND GETTING PSYCHOLOGISTS ON CAMPUSES. THE NATIONAL RECOMMENDATION IS 250 STUDENTS PER ONE PSYCHOLOGIST. MOST SCHOOLS IN ARIZONA DO NOT HAVE ONE OR HAVE 950 STUDENTS FOR ONE NOT EVEN AT THE SCHOOL FULL TIME. WE WANT ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR THESE PEOPLE AND TAKING ACTIONS FOR GUN SAFETY.
TED SIMONS: YOU ARE VERY MUCH INVOLVED. YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS, HOW INVOLVED ARE THEY. DO THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON? DO THEY GET THIS?
JACOB MARTINEZ: I THINK TODAY WAS A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT STUDENTS KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BACK DOWN UNTIL ACTION IS TAKEN. WE HAVE SEEN A POLARIZATION BETWEEN REPUBLICS AND DEMOCRATS THAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO COME TOGETHER ON THESE ISSUES. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO WORK AGAINST.
TED SIMONS: AND WE SHOULD MENTION THAT YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN?
JACOB MARTINEZ: I AM.
TED SIMONS: UH HUH AND YOU WERE APART OF TEENAGE REPUBLICANS?
JACOB MARTINEZ: I WAS THE ARIZONA STATE CHAIRMAN.
TED SIMONS: YOU ARE STILL PART OF THAT.
JACOB MARTINEZ: I AM A REPUBLIC, BUT I HAVE STEPPED DOWN FROM MY ROLE TO EXPRESS MY ROLE WITH ‘TEENAGE REPUBLICAN PARTY’ TO VOICE MY DISCONTENT FROM THE PARTY AND DIRECTION THE PARTY IS GOING.
TED SIMONS: WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE HAS THAT GOTTEN YOU?
JACOB MARTINEZ: I HAVE BEEN COMPASSED WITH THIS MEETING SINCE THIS HAPPENED.SO I HAVE NOT REALLY HAD A CHANCE.
TED SIMONS: YOU WILL FIND OUT SHORTLY. ANOTHER EVENT HAS BEEN PLANNED FOR MARCH 24. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?
JACOB MARTINEZ: MARCH 24TH, THAT'S MARCH FOR OUR LIVES AT THE CAPITOL AS WELL. THAT IS ON A SATURDAY. WE ARE GOING TO GET MANY STUDENT. IF YOU THOUGHT TODAY WAS A LOT OF STUDENT, WAIT FOR THAT MARCH.
TED SIMONS: THAT MARCH, THAT ACTION, DO YOU JUST WANT PEOPLE TO LISTEN? DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO SOMETHING? IS IT A MIX OF BOTH? WHAT DO YOU WANT?
JACOB MARTINEZ: IF WE JUST WANTED PEOPLE TO LISTEN WE WOULDN’T BE GOING TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE. WE WANT ACTION. UNTIL ACTION IS TAKEN, WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING AND NOT STOP. I HOPE THE ELECTED OFFICIALS HEAR OUR WORD.
TED SIMONS: JACOB MARTINEZ, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. WE APPRECIATE IT. UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON, WE'LL SEE HOW STATE LAMWAKERS ARE REACTING TO TODAY'S SCHOOL WALKOUTS.
TED SIMONS: OUR WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE BEGINS TONIGHT WITH REACTION TO TODAY'S STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS IN FAVOR OF NEW GUN LAWS. JOINING US NOW IS SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM JOHN KAVANAGH, AND HOUSE SPEAKER PRO TEM T.J. SHOPE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.
Jacob Martinez: Junior, Dobson High School (organized March for Our Lives)
Lindsay Schawelson: Senior, Desert Mountain High School
Molly Jimmerson: Senior, Anthem Prepatory Academy