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Gun control protest planned for Saturday in Columbus

Demonstrators march through downtown during the "March for Our Lives" protest for gun legislation and school safety, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Demonstrators march through downtown during the "March for Our Lives" protest for gun legislation and school safety, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Cincinnati. March for Lives is planning a protest Saturday in Columbus at the Ohio Statehouse

A youth-led movement advocating for the end of gun violence will lead marches Saturday in Washington, D.C., Columbus and in other cities across the nation.

March for Our Lives is organizing the rallies and marches. The Columbus event begins at 11 a.m. in front of the Ohio Statehouse.

March for Our Lives got its start in 2018 when young people horrified after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida organized the first event and outlined a policy agenda.

That agenda includes providing resources for mental health services, advocating legislative changes and changing the culture surrounding firearms, including putting an end to the “glorification” of gun violence that is “embedded in our culture.

“In this country, we put guns on a pedestal and prioritize firearm access over access to human needs. This makes guns extremely easy to access—easier than housing or medical care,” the organizer’s website states.

Kyleigh Jordan, an incoming freshman who will study political science at Ohio State University and a movement organizer for March for Our Lives, said violence using firearms is prevalent in media.

“I think the tolerance for it, it's just become such a norm. If we want to change it, somebody has to say something about it. Everybody has just become so used to it and just kind of ignores the fact that it is a problem. So, I think realizing it would be a big first step that people need to take,” Jordan said.

The focus of this march is demanding lawmakers take action to require universal background checks whenever and however a firearm is purchased.

“It's about 90% of Americans that believe we should have background checks,” Jordan said. “They're very necessary. I love the analogy I've heard going around with driving a car, you have to have a permit and of course a license and it should be the same way for firearms.”

Jordan said lawmakers should listen to that overwhelming support and do something about it.

“It's just really sad to see that nothing is still being done about it. Like it feels like we're still permitting these actions to take place and we shouldn't be,” she said.

There have been numerous school shootings since a gunman killed 17 and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, including the deadly one last month in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers.

Tragedies like this demonstrate the need for lawmakers to heed the call to action, Jordan said.

“They really need to listen to the people, their job as lawmakers is to be a representative of the public. And clearly we have something to say about this issue and it's not being listened to,” Jordan said.

Jordan said local marchers are also concerned about Ohio's new, less restrictive rules for carrying concealed weapons. It takes effect Monday.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.