Arizona schools to join national protest of gun violence

PHOENIX – Students from at least two Arizona high schools have indicated they will participate in planned walkouts to pressure legislators to pass gun reform. The schools signed up as host schools on The Action Network website.

The walkout, scheduled for March 14, is part of a national effort to raise awareness and spur change after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead and 14 injured.

Officials from Hamilton High School in Chandler and Highland High School in Gilbert did not respond to requests for comments on Monday.

EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, organized the walkout of schools and classrooms across the country. It will begin at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes – one minute for every person killed in the Parkland shooting.

Students at Stoneman Douglas High on Sunday announced plans to march in Washington, D.C., to speak out against gun violence, joining a national protest coordinated by the organization March for Our Lives.

At least one Arizona lawmaker remained skeptical much would change in Arizona when it comes to passing gun reform measures in the state.

“I don’t think there’s much appetite for addressing that given our current state Legislature, but I think common sense gun safety reform is something that the vast majority of Arizonans support,” said state Sen. Sean Bowie, D-Phoenix.

The state’s conservative Legislature has not supported gun-control measures in previous sessions.

The Florida shooting was the second deadliest mass shooting at a school since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in 2012. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 345 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2013.

But gun-control advocates in Arizona face a tough road. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Arizona an “F” in its 2016 gun law state scorecard, saying the state has “little in the way of common sense gun policy.”

Legislators have introduced several bills this session that would place bans or preventative measures on the sale, distribution, accessibility and storage of firearms.

Here’s a look at some of them:

Cronkite News reporters Olivia Richard and Nicole Constantino contributed to this article.