Students from across North Carolina gathered in front of the Legislative Building on Tuesday to demand that Republicans pass bills that tighten people’s access to guns, News From The States reports. “Being part of the lockdown generation is not something you want to be a part of,” said Leah Krevat, a 20-year-old who has been a gun reform activist for five years. “We need to pass background checks, red flag laws that ban assault weapons, because we can’t keep living like this.” That is the opposite of what legislators did in a House Judiciary Committee earlier that morning, as they advanced a bill that could make it easier for some North Carolinians to get a concealed handgun permit. House Bill 22 would clarify the legal reasoning for denying a concealed handgun permit based on a person’s military discharge status.
Andrew Stevens of the gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina said people who leave the military service with a dishonorable or other-than-honorable discharge would still be prohibited from obtaining a sheriff-issued concealed handgun permit. However, the bill would clear “an obstacle to securing a sheriff-issued concealed handgun permit by individuals who by law are not prohibited from possessing handguns.” Minutes after that bill passed out of committee, Krevat appeared alongside several other young adults at a press conference to demand lawmakers take action. “Another day, another undue shooting, another life taken, another school year tarnished, and yet still another complacent governing body,” said student Kema Leonard. “We, the young people of this state and the young people of this union, call on our current elected officials to do the work to match your prayers, or count your days in office.” Outraged students recounted the ways the shootings have affected them: shuddering when they hear loud pops, checking their phones for active shooter warnings when they hear sirens, making note of all exits and always plotting an escape, just in case.