VIDEO and PHOTOS: Fort Wayne students, residents rally for stronger gun control and better protection of schools

Brandon Blumenherst, a student at IPFW, speaks at the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally he organized Sunday at the Allen County Courthouse green to call on elected officials to take action to end gun violence and to protect schools. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
People urged elected officials to take action to eliminate civilian access to military-style assault weapons and to better protect schools during the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally Sunday at the Allen County Courthouse green. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Panashe Chakabva, president of the Young Progressives club at Homestead High School, calls for stronger gun control and safer schools during the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally Sunday at the Allen County Courthouse green. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Speakers and people carrying signs called for ending civilian access to military-style assault weapons during the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally Sunday afternoon at the Allen County Courthouse green. People rallied to call on elected officials to take action to end gun violence and to protect schools. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Ritvik Bonam of Carroll High School calls for stronger gun control and safer schools during the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally Sunday at the Allen County Courthouse green. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
More than 500 people gathered for the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally Sunday at the Allen County Courthouse green to call on elected officials to take action to end gun violence and to protect schools. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

An estimated 500 people turned out in cold, windy weather Sunday afternoon for the Fort Wayne Students Demand Action to Prevent Gun Violence rally downtown where speakers called on elected officials to take action to end gun violence and to protect schools.

The rally, which was organized by Brandon Blumenherst of IPFW and other IPFW students, took place on the Allen County Courthouse green.

One speaker estimated the crowd at 1,000 people, but it didn’t appear quite that large. It did include a cross-section of the community, from young children to senior citizens and people from various cultural communities in the city.

Blumenherst said last week the rally is a “direct response” to the shootings Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead and a number of others wounded.

“I decided to organize the rally on Sunday because I am sick and tired of seeing a loss of student life due to our representatives’ unwillingness to pass legislation to help prevent gun violence and mass school shootings,” Blumenherst said last week.

In addition to Blumenherst, speakers included Panashe Chakabva, president of the Young Progressives club at Homestead High School; Ritvik Bonam of Carroll High School; Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th District; Democratic 3rd District U.S. Representative candidate Courtney Tritch; and others.

Speakers called for improved gun control, especially involving civilian access to military-style assault rifles such as the AR-15 rifle used by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz in the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting.

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