Hundreds demonstrated for additional gun regulations at the Indiana Statehouse from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.
The demonstrators joined thousands protesting nationwide in the March For Our Lives, an event organized by survivors of the Parkland school shooting according to the BBC.
Under heavy snowfall, demonstrators waited for hours in lines that almost completely surrounded the Statehouse. The Statehouse appeared to have a single entrance open to the public.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., greeted demonstrators waiting outside and thanked them.
“Snow’s never stopped Hoosiers before!” Donnelly declared later in a speech inside the Statehouse.
Donnelly told the crowd about gun regulations he supported in Congress, including a 2013 vote to expand background checks for gun shows.
“I voted to expand those background checks, and we lost,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly continued with other gun regulations he had voted for, such as a failed 2015 proposal to prevent those on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms.
“If you are on the terrorist watch list, and you cannot fly on a plane, you should not be able to buy a gun,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly then said he supported a bump stock ban, before he concluded his speech by encouraging those in attendance to vote.
“If you vote this year, then we can change the future of America forever,” Donnelly said.
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said that both voting and demonstrating could influence lawmakers to vote for additional gun regulations.
“Don’t you think our numbers won’t send a message all across this country,” Carson said.
While lawmakers addressed the Statehouse demonstration, most of the speakers were students or parents.
Isaiah Warren, a Warren Central High School junior, shared a poem on gun violence.
“Generation after generation, kids killing kids, decreasing our population,” Warren said.
At the conclusion of his poem, Warren asked the crowd raise their right fist and observe a moment of silence.
Along with Isaiah Warren, several Warren Central High School students and their parents related a shooting death in their community with others nationwide.
On May 6, 2017, Warren Central High School Dijon Anderson was fatally shot, Fox 59 reported. Anderson’s mother, Christia Frazier, told the crowd about her son Anderson, who was a football player who planned to go to an Illinois college on a full-ride scholarship.
“Those goals and dreams that my son had for his life was ended by gun violence,” Frazier said.
“Gun violence is taking over our city. It’s taking over our children’s lives. It’s taking over mothers like me,” Frazier continued, “I shouldn’t have to stand here and speak about losing my son. I should be in a football stand cheering on my son.”
As a result of Anderson’s death, Warren Central High School students founded the non-profit organization We LIVE Indy, according to their website.
Lawrence Central High School senior Delaney Mortimore addressed the crowd, “This isn’t an anti-gun issue or a liberal or conservative issue; it’s a life-or-death issue.”
“The Stoneman Douglas shooting sparked something in many of us,” Mortimore said.
On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old former student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, The Washington Post reported. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students Cameron Kasky, Emma González, and David Hogg, among others, became advocates for changes to gun policy that they believed would prevent future mass shootings, according to CNN.
“Here’s a time to talk about gun control: March 24. My message for the people in office is: You’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Kasky said to CNN.
83 percent of adults polled nationwide by Monmouth University favored comprehensive background checks for gun purchases, while 16 percent were opposed. Monmouth polled 803 adults by telephone from March 2-3.
On November 2015, WTHR reported that 83 percent of 600 Indiana adults polled by Princeton Survey Research favored background checks for gun purchases. 51 percent of Hoosiers surveyed in the 2015 poll supported a ban on assault weapons, while 49 percent were opposed.
“The numbers in Indiana, for Hoosiers, track the national averages in terms of gun control,” Ball State political science professor Joe Losco told WTHR.