SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thousands of people marched to the Utah state Capitol on Saturday in separate events aimed at sparking changes to improve school safety but by different methods.
Hundreds of pro-gun marchers took to the site first and peacefully rallied for fortified schools and more armed teachers. Their march lasted about an hour before supporters of gun control took to the same route.
The March for Our Lives crowd was estimated to be at least 6,000 and far outnumbered the 500 pro-gun demonstrators, according to Utah Highway Patrol officials.
Many of the marchers gathered on the state Capitol’s front steps and chanted “Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“This isn’t about right or left,” said student organizer Wilhemina Graff. “It’s about life and death.”
The protesters calling for gun control were predominantly students. Many held handwritten signs with messages such as “One kid’s life is worth more than all the guns” as they stood on the state Capitol lawn.
The Salt Lake City rally was one of hundreds of rallies around the country inspired by high school students in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting.
The counter-protesters were not shy about their advocacy.
Pro-gun marchers included 11-year-old Kendall McKee standing in an armored tactical vehicle with a sign that read “Criminals (heart) Gun Control.”