Following Nashville school shooting, Northwestern students rally for nationwide gun legislation


Kimberly Espinosa/Daily Senior Staffer

The Rock. NU Students Demand Action staged a rally for gun safety there Wednesday.

Kristen Axtman, Assistant Campus Editor

Content warning: This article contains mentions of death, suicide and gun violence. 

Since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, there have been 377 school shootings in the U.S., according to data from The Washington Post. On March 27, three children and three staff members were killed in a shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

About 35 Northwestern students and community members joined thousands of students across the country to protest gun violence, gathering at The Rock Wednesday to advocate for gun control legislation. 

During their 10-minute speech, four members of NU Students Demand Action called attention to The Covenant School shooting. 

“Together, we remember the six beautiful lives lost,” said Weinberg junior and SDA co-Lead Lily Cohen said. “We remember the (more than) 9,800 people killed by gun violence since the start of 2023.”

The protesters held a moment of silence while the speakers read the names and ages of the victims from The Covenant School shooting. 

Weinberg junior Mirabella Johnson, co-lead of SDA, said guns don’t just kill people in mass shootings. She said each year, domestic violence, identity-targeted gun violence, death by suicide and unsafe gun storage contribute to thousands of deaths nationwide. There were more than 20,000 firearm deaths in the U.S. last year, excluding suicides, according to The Trace. 

SESP freshman Anusha Kumar said gun violence is rooted in colonialism and white supremacy, which disproportionately affects marginalized people. 

“Gun violence in America is a racial justice issue,” said Kumar, SDA’s events lead. “We should not live in a community where Black Americans are 10 times more likely as white Americans to die from gun violence.”

Kumar added members of the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to be victims of gun violence. These facts are often left out from conversations about gun violence, she said. 

Evanston resident Jacob Goldsmith came to the protest with his wife and 7-year-old son. He said he’s tired of hearing “dishonest” arguments from pro-gun groups.

Goldsmith said he hopes events raising awareness about gun violence and direct action can eventually contribute to substantive change. He compared the U.S.’s response to gun violence to that of other countries like Australia, where gun violence significantly reduced after legislation was passed. 

Communication senior Alia Marshall also joined the protest to show her support for stricter gun control legislation. She said everyone needs to continue fighting for legislation that should have passed years ago. 

“Every mass shooting is one too many,” Marshall said. “We have to keep demanding action from our senators and representatives.”

Bienen junior V Matthew Steinbaum, SDA’s advocacy lead, ended the speech by informing protesters about ways to take action. 

Steinbaum said protesting makes a difference. As an example, he cited the Illinois state legislature banning the manufacturing and sale of assault rifles after the July shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. He encouraged protesters to call their representatives. 

On April 14, SDA will host another protest at the Rock, advocating for community divestment from the gun industry. 

“Our future safety lies in the hands of Congress and state legislators, and if we do not force them to listen then more people will die,” Steinbaum said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KristenAxtman1

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