The March for Our Lives movement was born four years ago in response to the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, and on June 11, people from Ohio will march again with others from around the nation to demand gun-law reforms.
The rebirth of the movement comes in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Michelle Dillingham, organizer for the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, said there is a unified call for reforms to address the public health crisis of gun violence.
"This is not a celebration, right, this is traumatic," Dillingham says. "We are seeing an unacceptable level of gun violence on school grounds, traumatizing our youth and their families. And so, we will march to compel lawmakers to make common-sense gun reforms."
In addition to the Cincinnati event, marches will be held in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. Advocates are calling for reforms including background checks for gun sales, "red flag" laws, and safe storage provisions. Some gun owners have voiced concerns about changes they believe could compromise their Second Amendment rights.
Dillingham noted gun policies in Ohio have been significantly relaxed in recent years, starting with a "Stand Your Ground" law, which no longer requires retreat in certain situations before using what is referred to as "justifiable force" with a gun in self-defense.
"We've had background checks removed, training requirements reduced for concealed firearm carry," Dillingham says. "Our legislators are really going backwards in terms of proven measures for safe gun ownership."
Dillingham pointed out many districts have improved school safety with metal detectors and Safety Resource Officers, but she thinks some proposals risk going too far.
"This seems like a tipping point for us, because the conversation has really escalated in terms of putting guns in teachers' hands," Dillingham explains. "There are so many other proven strategies to reduce gun violence, and arming teachers is not what we're interested in seeing."
She contended more focus is needed on early detection strategies, like mental health supports for those who might be contemplating gun violence.
Cincinnati's March for Our Lives event will take place on at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 11 at Cincinnati City Hall, 801 Plum St., Downtown. More info: marchforourlives.com.
This story was originally published by Public News Service and is republished here with permission.