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Educators, gun safety advocates call for legislation to reduce gun violence

A mourner leaves flowers at The Rock on the grounds of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson were killed and several other students were hospitalized after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Michigan State University Monday, February 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya / AP
A mourner leaves flowers at The Rock on the grounds of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson were killed and several other students were hospitalized after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Michigan State University Monday, February 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Following the mass shooting on the campus of Michigan State University last week, a group of educators and advocates is demanding state lawmakers pass laws to combat gun violence.

Students and activists with the group March for Our Lives stood behind speakers at a Monday press conference in support of gun safety legislation.

The conference was intentionally placed between the Capitol building and Board of Education office.

Multiple educators say the Legislature needs to pass reforms that would make schools safer, including new gun storage requirements and universal background checks for those purchasing firearms.

Pamela Pugh is the president of the State Board of Education. She thanked Democratic officials for supporting gun safety laws but called on Republicans to back the measures.

“We are not asking. We are demanding that policy be made to protect our children,” she said.

David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, called on Republicans to break gridlock by collaborating with Democrats on gun safety legislation.

“What we’re doing right now as a country is not working. The cycle that we’re in of endless debate, inaction, is not working,” said Hogg.

Democrats have introduced bills in the state Senate that would implement universal background checks, safe storage requirements and red flag laws.

Republicans have supported bipartisan proposals to expand mental health resources in schools.

MSU student advocates also organized a sit-down protest outside the Capitol Monday to push for the legislation.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.