Joining hundreds of thousands across the country, the cries for gun reform rang out in downtown Wichita on Saturday morning.
Hundreds of marchers from across the area walked from Park Elementary, down Main Street, and to the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse as part of the nationwide "March For Our Lives" rally.
Their signs expressed their demands.
“Save a kid’s life! Stop assault weapons!”
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“Derby class of 71 for gun control”
“Arm teachers with books not bullets”
“Responsible gun owners demand reform”
“Veterans for peace”
At the rally point, teenagers from area high schools held 17 pieces of paper that together read “Enough is Enough.” The names of the 17 people who were killed in the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were written carefully on the bottom.
Nervously, Nathan Dominguez, a sophomore at Newton High , took to the podium and began his speech with a 17-second moment of silence — and then he spoke to a man standing across Main Street.
“To that counter protester over there, it’s OK,” Dominguez he said. “We love you. And we fight for you, too."
He then addressed everyone in the crowd and told them it’s their responsibility to create a safer future and asked that those who are old enough to vote research candidates and vote for those who are against the National Rifle Association.
His words were met with a chant of “vote them out” from the crowd.
Dominguez was one of several high school students who spoke to the protesters and demanded change.
Wichita Police estimated the crowd at about 300.
Rep. Jason Probst, D-Hutchinson, said the country has done “little more than shrug our shoulders” since 1999, when two students brought guns, knives and explosives to Columbine High School, killing 11 students and a teacher before themselves.
“Every shooting should have been enough,” he said. “Today we're standing here with a movement led by a generation of students who have been raised in a world governed by corrosive fear and crippling inaction. A world in which it has become absurdly normal and obscenely accepted that on any given day dozens of students might die a violent death at their school. Today, you stand in the narrow space between yesterday and tomorrow … we have a choice to make. We can say that sadly this is the state of the world … or we can say enough is enough.”
Organizers of the March for Our Lives rally in Washington hoped their protest would match in numbers and spirit last year's women's march, one of the biggest protests in the capital since the Vietnam era and one that far exceeded predictions of 300,000 demonstrators.
"We will continue to fight for our dead friends," Delaney Tarr, a survivor of the Florida tragedy, declared from the stage. The crowd roared with approval as she laid down the students' central demand: a ban on "weapons of war" for all but warriors.
Neither President Donald Trump nor the NRA had commented on the rallies as of Saturday afternoon.
A new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 69 percent of Americans think gun laws in the U.S. should be tightened. That's up from 61 percent who said the same in October 2016 and 55 percent when the AP first asked the question in October 2013. Overall, 90 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of gun owners now favor stricter gun control laws.
But even with claims of historic social momentum on the issue of gun control, the AP poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action.
Contributing: The Associated Press