March for Our Lives demonstrators rally at Nevada Capitol

Tahoe Onstage

Chilly demonstrators walk from Mills Park to the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City on Saturday. It was among more than 800 March For Our Lives rallies held around the world on Saturday.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Ray Frederick shared a story as he walked toward the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City on a chilly Saturday morning. “My nephew was shot at Gilroy High School in the late 1980’s. These school shootings have been going on for a long time. They never could get the bullet out. It’s still lodged in his spine.”

Frederick and his wife Genevieve were among more than 300 people who marched, carried signs and spoke at the capitol steps in a rally to support common sense gun legislation. It was one of more than 800 March for Our Lives demonstrations held across the globe and in each of the 50 United States.

“I have three grandchildren in school and they are fearful,” Genevieve Frederick said. “There was a school lockdown just days after the Florida shootings.”

Fourteen students and three educators were shot to death on Feb. 14 by a former student with an assault rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Summoned to action by student survivors of the Florida shooting, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied in the nation’s capital and cities across America on Saturday to press for gun control in one of the biggest youth protests since the Vietnam era.

Many of the students who spoke at the Carson City rally had participated in and organized class walkouts on March 14. As people addressed the audience, motorists passing by occasionally shouted disparaging remarks.

Dayton High School junior Jake Carr said, “A lot of people in Dayton are against this, but I really don’t care.”

While Carr was defiant many more were emotional.

“I am a senior student from Las Vegas and my city was the place of the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States,” said Eriche Gonzales, 18, before she broke into tears. “Prayers are good, we like them. But we need more than just praying. We need action. We need to keep fighting for what we believe in.”

Carson High student Megan Owens said, “This is what we want to do. We’re not here because some older person told us this is how you fight for your rights.”

Her classmate Jane Fliegler added, “Maybe I am only 16 years old but I will be able to vote in two years and I will vote for gun reform legislation.”

Politics was a common topic.

Organizer George McKinnon said he is a lifelong Republican who just switched parties.

“Nevada has some of the loosest gun laws in the nation,” McKinnon said. “I am calling for background checks and a ban on bump stocks. And we will introduce gun legislation as soon as we vote the Republicans out.”

Sarah Adler of Indian Hills said she has organized a door-to-door campaign. “We are going to knock on doors and listen to people and we will register voters.”

Speaker Curtis Cannon observed, “This is what America looks like.” Afterward, he said he lives in Nevada State District 17, which is represented by longtime Republican incumbent James Settelmeyer. “He was running unopposed,” Cannon said before grinning, “until last week.” Cannon will face Settelmeyer in the upcoming election.

Carson High teacher Shelly Bale gave a concise lesson: “Language is Power. Don’t forget that.”

A little girl named Sydney approached the podium. Rick Shepherd, one of six Democratic candidates for the 2nd Congressional District, lifted her up so she could speak into the microphone.

“I am 8 years old and all I want to say is choose me, not guns,” she said.

High School student Maddison Gillott said, “I am tired of sitting around, waiting to see who will be shot next.” Her mother, Denise Gillott, was one of the final speakers: “My biggest fear is that this ends here. Let’s make the change. Don’t let it end today.”

– Tim Parsons

Tahoe Onstage

Eriche Gonzales, a high school senior from Las Vegas, becomes emotional at the dais.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Chloe Menzies organized the March 14 student walkout at Incline High School.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Carson High School teacher Shelly Bale gives a quick lesson.

Tahoe Onstage

Tobias Arreola, 17, helped organized the school walkout at Carson High.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

“I want to see some sensible gun laws passed in our country,” Carson City resident Cindy Cardinal said. “I think the tide is changing.”
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Sydney, an 8 year old, gets a boost from Rick Shepherd as organizer George McKinnon watches.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

7 comments

  1. One third of this generation is missing. If these students want to save lives, then March to shut down Planned Parenthood and outlaw suction machines. You will save millions of lives.

  2. While the Tide Pod munchers want to tell me about constitutional rights, why not March against FedEx and UPS??? After all. ….they deliver bombs right???

  3. These school shootings are absolutely tragic and need to stop however the fact of the matter is that guns are NOT the problem. Criminals will get guns no matter what laws are enacted. Illegal guns are easily obtained by criminals, ex-felons and others’ whom have been prohibited from owning them legally. We already have many gun control laws. Perhaps we need to start enforcing them before we push for further gun control. We the People have a Constitutional Right to bear arms this is Non-Negotiable. While I wholeheartedly respect our law enforcement and am eternal grateful for their service and sacrifice to keep me safe, it is a fact that they are not always able to make it to a call for help immediately. I, for one feel it is important to be able to defend myself against anyone whom would wish to do me harm. If these kids don’t understand they reasons why firearms in the hands of law abiding Americans are important, perhaps we need to bring Civics Classes and American History classes back into the schools? It is shameful that many of these “protestors” are willing to follow the crowd with protests about saving lives through gun control, yet will in the same manner protest the de-funding of abortion clinics. Is it me or are we failing to educate them about HYPOCRISY?

  4. Kids are just that. Kids. Kids know nothing about Constitutional rights (I’m not sure they even teach that stuff anymore . . .) In fact, kids no nothing period, which is why we send them to school. Of course, kids THINK they know what they’re talking (or protesting) about, but I remember when I was a kid – and thought I knew it all, especially after I graduated high school.

    These school shootings are horrible. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes have serious mental problems and THAT is what needs to be addressed. Signs of problems are overlooked and the result is what we see more of at an alarming rate.

    It’s easy to say, “Well, if we just ban this particular gun, that will solve the school shooting problem”. This approach to the issue is laughable (though nothing about this problem is laughable). It scares me to see all this ignorant protesting going on because I know there are politicians out there eager to jump in and attempt to chip away at our Constitutional rights.

  5. What these people are demanding is that the government take some of their rights away! Nothing they are asking for will make anyone safer. It might make them feel safer, but feeling safer and being safer are two different things.

    Everyone wants to stop gun violence, or any other violence for that matter, but outlawing the possession of scary looking firearms by law abiding citizens is nothing more than Feel Good legislation that will do nothing to increase anyone’s safety.

    We need to think with our brains, not with our hearts.

  6. It’s their future, their right to “…life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness…”, i.e., without Columbine; Virginia Tech; Aurora, CO; Parkland, FL; Las Vegas, NV.

  7. Liberals murder 1.5 million children every year all in the name of a woman’s right. 17 kids are killed by a deranged individual, and suddenly these same people find their conscience?

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