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March for Our Lives rally pushes for changes in gun laws at Arizona State Capitol

The rally started with 21 seconds of silence for the lives lost in Uvalde – 19 students and two teachers.

PHOENIX — March for Our Lives rallies took place Saturday in communities across the country, including one at Arizona's State Capitol in Phoenix. 

The student-led movement started back in 2018 in the wake of the deadly school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The tragedy last month at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas pushed more people in Arizona to take action.

"They’re coming out despite the heat which is amazing," Laura Hackett said.

Hackett, who lives in Phoenix, said it's been an emotional few weeks watching mass shootings unfold nationwide.

"Every time I hear of a school shooting from the time Sandy Hook happened, from my hometown actually, it really has hurt me every single time," she said.

The March for Our Lives movement is not calling for an outright ban on guns, but rather a push for legislation that includes universal background checks, age limits and more regulation.  A lot of people at the rally in Phoenix talked specifically about keeping kids in schools safe, including Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.

"As a mom and as an educator, I want our lawmakers to act now," Hoffman said to the crowd of a few hundred people Saturday evening.

The rally started with 21 seconds of silence for the lives lost in Uvalde – 19 students and two teachers.

People came to Arizona from out of state, including Texas and California.

Hackett felt compelled to come out with her kids and some friends.

"We have to stop sitting and watching the news," Hackett said. "We have to get out and make our voices heard."

About a week after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Arizona lawmakers voted on a bill that would restrict some access to firearms.

"This bill could save lives," said Senator Martin Quezada (D), who introduced the bill, on the Senate floor.

It didn’t pass.

Other lawmakers said the bill was too restrictive for responsible gun owners and that strengthened security could be a solution.

"Our school districts have the authorities right now to secure campuses," said Sonny Borrelli (R) during the session.

Less than a dozen of counter-protestors were also at the March for Our Lives rally at the state capitol. The march was peaceful and wrapped up around 7 p.m.

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