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Guilford County students addressing gun violence

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A group of students in Guilford County is taking a stand against gun violence and they're asking the community and their lawmakers to get on board.

The students shared their message at Tuesday night's Town Hall for Guilford County, put on by the local Democratic Party and state lawmakers.

After the school shooting in Florida earlier this month, students like Dominic Patafie say they just want to feel safe when they go to school. Students are fed up with gun violence across the state.

Hundreds of them walked out at Grimsley High School last week, while other marched and spoke out in Raleigh. These students want to send a message to lawmakers.

“Not only to the legislatures in Washington but in Raleigh as well, that us as students are sick of having this threat of gun violence in the back of our heads," Patafie said.

“Pass sensible gun legislation, because we’re not trying to take away guns, we’re just trying to get control of guns and make sure they don’t cause any more harm," Lauren Smith said.

Patafie and Smith are part of a bigger group of students organizing the March For Our Lives in North Carolina next month.

“We feel like there is something that can be done and we’re trying to push for a common sense solution to this gun violence issue that has plagued our country," Patafie said.

The movement started after the Florida school shooting. The march is happening on Saturday, March 24, in Washington, D.C., but local students are planning events across the country to make sure all of their voices are heard.

At Tuesday night's town hall, students asked lawmakers to back them up.

“When politicians from both sides of the isle see all the different people from all the different walks of life coming together to say, 'Hey enough is enough,' hopefully that will inspire them to find some common ground," Patafie said.

The Guilford County League of Women Voters and Guilford County Democratic Party are already on board.

“They are kids, but they’re truly inspiring,” said Nicole Quick, the chair of the Guilford County Democratic Party.

Quick is encouraging the students to reach out to Republican lawmakers too. The students say everyone is welcome to join their movement.

“We’re hoping, honestly, to look beyond political boundaries," Patafie said. "I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat or independent. Gun violence is an issue that should supersede that.”

The March For Our Lives in Greensboro will begin at 2 p.m. at LeBauer Park. Raleigh's event begins at 10 a.m. at the Halifax Mall.

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