More than 1,500 people of various ages, races and nationalities passed through Rudder Plaza during Saturday's March for Our Lives event on the Texas A&M campus, calling for action from Congress on gun control.

The event was organized by Texas A&M senior Samira Choudhury and six committee members as part of the national March for Our Lives movement started by students who attended Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman shot and killed 17 people and injured many others on Feb. 14.

"There will be people that believe that this would never happen here at one of our schools. To those who believe that, I have this to say to you: The people of Parkland, Florida, probably thought the same way during Sandy Hook or Columbine. Look what happened. You might not know victims of gun violence or school shooting, but it could have been your son or daughter, your grandchild, your brother or sister. It could have been your best friend. I don't want to see my best friend huddling in a corner fearing for their lives," A&M Consolidated High School sophomore Coleman Maxwell said.

After a rally in Rudder Plaza where people could create signs and register to vote, the crowd marched and chanted to the corner of University Drive and Texas Avenue before gathering again at Rudder Plaza for a concluding rally.

"I'm just a mom and a grandmother. I've got grandkids in school, my daughter's a teacher, so I worry about them," Bryan resident Kathy Moss said. "Extremely proud that the younger generation is maybe stepping up, and I feel like my generation has failed miserably, so maybe the younger kids can get something done."

Moss' said her hope is that the rallies and marches across the country generate action in Congress regarding gun control.

"I don't understand that you can be put on a no-fly list because you're considered too dangerous to fly on a plane, but you can still buy a gun. ... I'm not opposed to people owning guns, but who needs an AR-15? Hoping we get stricter regulations. I don't want to take people's guns away, but I think we should regulate how we get them."

Inspired by other students who spoke out, 8-year-old Dylan Silvey said, "It feels good getting my voice heard by everybody else."

It is important to participate in the rally, he said, so schools can be safe places for students to learn, adding he does not want to see gun control that affects hunting weapons, just weapons of war.

Adam and Leslie Seipp brought their two children with them to the rally and march, saying their purpose is not to support taking people's guns away, but rather to promote conversation.

"We're not here to express that we need to seize people's guns. We're here to say that it's time to have a conversation in our country about violence that reflects the value of human life and that doesn't privilege the rights of gun owners over the needs of all of us to feel safe in our communities," Adam Seipp said.

Some of those conversations did take place before the plaza cleared for the evening. At one point, students in support of the rally and counterprotesters, who were carrying signs that read "Defend the Second," got into multiple conversations, discussing their beliefs and what needs to be addressed by Congress.

"I think what's extraordinary in some ways about Texas A&M is the fact that people from diametrically opposed political positions can actually talk about these things and listen to each other. They may not convince each other -- people may not move an iota one direction or another -- but they're talking, and that is an example for the rest of the country," A&M journalism professor Hannele Rubin said. "I would like to see a lot more of that. In fact, they're talking about why this isn't happening in Congress; why we can't even see these kinds of conversations going on in Congress? This is where the youth of our country can lead us much better than it looks like the adults are doing. These folks, as divided as they are politically and in lots of other ways, these folks are showing us an example of how we can have civic dialogue."

Fran Duane, a parent of four Bryan ISD graduates, noted the complexity of the issues being addressed.

"It's a tough issue, because you can be stuck on understanding people wanting to keep their guns, but also people wanting to keep their kids safe. It's a tougher issue than most people believe it is."

College Station High School senior Justin Moore chose to attend the rally and participate in the march because, he said, he has seen too many school shootings and wanted to do something.

"This is not a Republican or a Democratic problem, but a problem of the human race," Moore said. "Do not let the labels of political affiliation stand in the way of changing how society acts and perceives situations. In order to create a change, we must take the time to listen."

After the event, Maxwell said he was happy to see the turnout and the diversity in the crowd, noting he was glad to see so many children and high school students participate.

"In response to the Parkland shooting, I think as kids we need to step up and realize that our voice can be used to do something and change," he said. "It's about wanting to save lives and have sensible gun laws that prevent unstable people from getting guns. I think this march does send a message out to the Brazos Valley saying that we don't all have to agree with everything but that the fact we can join here as one and do something major for a good cause, I think that really should open our eyes up to that we shouldn't let these political labels divide us and not do what we really need to do."

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(25) comments

pragmatist

All those marchers who are opposed to killing of innocents with guns most certainly are also opposed to killing innocents with arbortion. Right?
If not, why not?

Gobstopper

Because it's not about protecting children, it's about imposing more gun control on legal gun owners.

TexasEagle2

So, you wouldn't be for longer wait periods for gun purchases, denying gun purchases to people on the no fly list, banning military style assault rifles, banning high capacity magazines, banning bump stocks, integrating state registries to make it easier to match gun ownership and crimes, creating a hold system for gun purchases for those with psychological problems, creating trigger locks that are specific to the registered gun owner, have all stolen guns required to be reported within 48 hours, and more. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2018/02/19/one-simple-step-toward-sane-gun-laws/#34f88d302b33

Sabio

Why, as a law abiding citizen, should I have to wait to buy a gun? Why, is the "style" of a weapon an issue. There is ZERO difference between my AR-15 and my .308 semi-automatic deer rifle, except for the caliber of bullet! What is a "high capacity" magazine? Who gets to decide what is "high capacity"? I have magazines that hold as few as five, and as many as 30. They are NO threat to any other law abiding person (present a threat to me and my family, and it's a different story). Your gun registry idea is laughable at best. You really think people who will commit crimes with guns are going to voluntarily register them? How you propose getting gang members to register their guns? The rest of your insane ideas are impractical as well. I have no problem not allowing keeping guns out of the hands of those who would harm themselves or others (60% of gun deaths are suicides), but how do you do that in light of the Constitutional protection of due process? Totally INSANE, not "sane" gun laws.

J

And everyone who is anti-choice are also anti-death-penalty, right?? It breaks down because you're looking at the wrong guiding principles.

People who are both pro-choice and pro-gun regulation are guided by a desire for quality of life. In the first case, quality of life for women and their family members. In the second case, wanting to sustain the ability to go to school/concert/church/etc. without fear of massacre by a shooter armed with weaponry designed to mow down people by the dozens.

People who are both anti-choice and pro-death penalty are guided by a belief that we must suffer stark natural consequences. If you can’t bear a child, don’t have sex (ignoring the nuances of rape, birth control failure, ectopic pregnancy, etc.) In the second case, they believe in “an eye for an eye”.

LaVenture

J:
So your argument is that it is OK to kill an infant as long as it enhances your quality of life?
Those who are pro-life *and* pro-death penalty understand that homicide is an extremely heinous offense and should be met with a just punishment. These same people also understand that a child in the womb is, in fact, a human being who has not committed a crime and can not speak for itself, and has every right to life as any other child; these two individuals are in no way related. It is justifiable to punish a murderer, but there is no justification for punishing a harmless and defenseless child.

The argument that protecting an innocent infant must also warrant the protection of an adult who consciously and willingly murders someone is absolutely ridiculous.

J

As I see it, guilt and innocence are irrelevant. The death penalty question is whether the state should be in the business of killing people. And the abortion question boils down to whether a non- or pre-viable fetus should take precedence over a woman and her family (remember, the majority of abortions are for women who already have children). And yes, you and I have very different definitions of the words ”people”, “children”, and “infant”.

LaVenture

So if the state has no business killing people, why do we have a military? Why do police officers carry firearms? Are we to let terrorists run free? How about the officer who shot and killed a school shooter recently? He would have been useful in Florida last month. The state should be in the business of killing when the offense warrants that level of response, and it is the "business" that has granted and protected your freedom.
Once again, you argue that killing a child is OK if the child is an inconvenience. Oh, I mean a fetus (that has human DNA and looks strangely like a tiny human). I guess in your world the state should only be in the business of killing if the offender is an unborn child.

J

This is in reply to your most recent comments, which for some reason I can't reply to.

The death penalty is essentially a ritualized killing carried out by a state-appointed executioner. This is qualitatively different from killing people who are an active threat, as in war and law enforcement.

And now I’m done. You’ve gone off on a tangent from a discussion that has the potential to improve life in this nation. I’m old enough that I cannot imagine feeling fear of massacre at school. I do think about it every time I go to a movie theatre or concert. Not everything is about abortion.

TexasEagle2

A gunman doesn't have a right to chose whether someone else lives or dies. However, a woman has power over her own body...and the right to chose whether to have a baby or not. It is that simple.

It is also a false equivalency to say that one has to be for right to life if one wants to be for protecting people from gun violence.

But, nothing said here will change your minds.

Brazos County Citizen

Pragmatist and Gobstopper are completely correct on their points. You're totally lost in your reply.

LaVenture

TexasEagle2:
Perhaps your argument would change someone's mind if it actually made sense.

1) Concerning abortion, a woman has a right whether or not to get pregnant, not whether or not to have a baby; there is a big difference. You are correct to say that a woman has power over her own body, however, she does not have power over the body of her child (concerning his or her health and well being). It is that simple.
2) Your second statement is asinine. Basically you are arguing that it is perfectly fine for people to kill one another, just not with guns. So based on that logic, if 17 students had been beaten or stabbed to death, would you be able to sleep better at night? It's homicide by scary-looking gun that you disagree with, not homicide in general.

TexasEagle2

As to number one...it is a women's right to chose with regard to both getting pregnant and having a baby. There are many circumstances under which a woman would chose not to carry a fetus to full term. As to number 2, not sure where you made the leap to thinking I am saying it is okay to kill people, just not with guns. That is not what I said. And again, there is no connection between the abortion and gun rights issues....

Sabio

Except it's not her body. From conception, a distinct human life is created. You can deny semantics, but you can't deny biology.

Brazos County Citizen

Nothing can totally eliminate acts of evil in this world. If not guns, these same mass murdering perps would have use a vehicle to kill large numbers of students/people just like ISIS has done in Europe in recent years. It's not the weapon, it's the evil, sick mindset of the perps.

TexasEagle2

Same old tired rhetoric...Santorum would suggest your ideas on life support, and you need CPR.

Sabio

In other words, you have no rational response.

pragmatist

TX Eagle
A baby is a person, too.
Think about it.
Change YOUR mind.

TexasEagle2

A woman has power and control over her body. You do not. It is a woman's right to chose what happens with regard to a) getting pregnant, and b) how she should proceed if she becomes pregnant.

Sabio

It's not her body. From conception, a unique human life is created. It's a biological fact. Period.

pragmatist

TX Eagle: Ignore it or deny it all you can but, in your mind and in your heart, you know what you call "a fetus" is a person just like you and me. Whether that person is 17 and in high school, 6yrs old or 6 weeks premature, that is a person. "Legal" or not, killing one is the same as killing the other. No way around it.

TexasEagle2

You can play with words and deny history all you want, but I still support a women's right to chose. There are many, many reasons that women chose to not carry a fetus to full term. It is one thing for you (if you are a woman) to make the choices that are right for you, but you have no right to impose your beliefs on another woman. Women's bodies are not owned by the state...they belong to each individual. If the state insists on taking over women's bodies as vessels for the birth of children to serve the interests of the state, we are in for sad times ahead.

LaVenture

"There are many, many reasons that women chose [choose] to not carry a fetus to full term." I am more interested in why they choose to have unprotected sex. Before you go with the "what about the ones who are impregnated through rape" argument, the vast majority of women who get abortions are simply irresponsible, and not rape victims. Just because a child is an inconvenience doesn't mean the mother has a right to kill it.

A woman has a right to her own body, and some women decide to use their bodies for unprotected sex; that is how they exercise their right. But what about the child? Why does the woman have a right to the child's body as well?

By the way, we are already in sad times if people argue so passionately for the right to kill an infant. You are worried about an inanimate object causing trouble, but have no interest in protecting a defenseless child.

LaVenture

Also, if one group is not allowed to "impose" their beliefs onto another, then why are you arguing for gun control? Are you trying to impose your beliefs on me?

By the way, the Constitution secures our right to bare arms; it does not secure a woman's right to kill her child.

Sabio

In contrast, 20,000 students gathered to fan out in to the community to have a REAL impact on the world. The 20,000 students give me hope for the future of this country. The mullets who participated in this march sadden me. This protest started when dozens of calls to law enforcement, including two to the FBI, warning of a violent outburst by a troubled young man were ignored. Several calls to 911 in the months leading up to this warned he was struggling, INCLUDING FROM CRUZ! State mental health professionals somehow concluded that he wasn't a threat to himself and others. Despite all that utter and complete failure to protect our children, these mullets think it's the gun that is the problem. Celebrate the 20,000 kids participating in the Big Event. They are the future of America. Not these other mullets.

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