Katie Richards, 16, a Columbus North High School sophomore, said: "It's awful that people are afraid to go to school," fearing the possibility of gun violence. That's true in Columbus as well as across the nation, she said. Bob Hyatt of Columbus held a megaphone during the March for Our Lives rally on the steps of Columbus City Hall. Republic staff photo.
Katie Richards, 16, a Columbus North High School sophomore, said: “It’s awful that people are afraid to go to school,” fearing the possibility of gun violence. That’s true in Columbus as well as across the nation, she said. Bob Hyatt of Columbus held a megaphone during the March for Our Lives rally on the steps of Columbus City Hall. Republic staff photo.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Bartholomew County residents echoed messages in support of students, not guns, similar to individuals attending March for Our Lives rallies in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and other large cities on Saturday.

The nationwide rallies were organized in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students or staff members died and 17 others were wounded.

Pam Clark, the first of more than a dozen speakers on the steps of Columbus City Hall, called Saturday “a horrible day,” referring to the weather, which 60 supporters braved to support the anti-gun-violence cause. They wore gloves, boots, hats and coats to stay warm and dry from the large, moist snowflakes that were falling with temperatures just above freezing.

Columbus area supporters had planned to carpool and caravan to the March for Our Lives rally at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. But because of Saturday’s snowstorm, they instead organized a hastily called local one for 11 a.m. in Columbus, which drew supporters of all ages.

“How many people have to die before we stop?” asked speaker Beth Vance, 20, a Purdue University student from Columbus, to which the crowd replied, “Not one more!”

The local rally was organized by Bartholomew County Indivisible, a year-old organization which has been working to create a non-partisan dialog on issues of importance, and a sister group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Read more in Sunday’s print edition of The Republic

A March for Our Lives rally Saturday in downtown Columbus, organized by Bartholomew County Indivisible and Moms Demand Action, drew 60 supporters who made one trip around the Bartholomew County Courthouse chanting phrases such as "No more silience, end gun violence." Republic staff photo.
A March for Our Lives rally Saturday in downtown Columbus, organized by Bartholomew County Indivisible and Moms Demand Action, drew 60 supporters who made one trip around the Bartholomew County Courthouse chanting phrases such as “No more silience, end gun violence.” Republic staff photo.