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Walk against guns

While thousands of protesters gathered Saturday, March 24, in Washington, D.C., and at other “March for Our Lives” location all across the country, a group of 200 to 300 people of all ages assembled at Dowdy Park in Nags Head to make their voices heard.

Although Angelina Lowe, one of the event organizers, had said prior to the Outer Banks event that it was not a political gathering and instead just a citizen’s gathering to show solidarity with schools, none of the event speakers saw that memo.

Serving as master of ceremonies, Nick Hodsdon made it clear that the rally was about gun control.

In reference to a February 14 Florida shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where a shooter opened fire on students and faculty killing 17, Hodsdon said the killer could not have done it with a jackknife or with a machete.

“It is guns that are killing our children,” said Hodsdon.

Echoing that theme, several First Flight and Manteo high school students spoke in favor of limiting gun ownership, closing gun show loopholes, passing laws that will prevent students from being killed, and limiting the influence of the National Rifle Association.

U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis were also chastised for taking NRA money, and N.C. State Representative Beverly Boswell was jeered for her comments about students being “Tide Pod eaters”.

Among the adults speaking was Susie Walters, who made it clear that she was not representing Nags Head, nor was she speaking in her capacity as Nags Head Mayor Pro-Tem. She did say that while she supports the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution she believes reasonable measures should be taken to regulate high capacity rifles.

“We are fortunate to live in a pretty safe community,” said Walters. “Dare County Schools, our Sheriff’s department and our towns always place our children’s safety first. Our schools are equipped with cameras and safe entry and we have resource officers in every school. However, we must not become complacent.”

Encouraging students to be involved, Walters said they needed to educate themselves about the politics that matter.

“Engage if you want something to change,” she added.

Hodsdon also encouraged involvement by registering to vote.

Helping open the door to political activity, a League of Women Voters of Dare County table was set up off to one side to recruit new voters.

Following the procession of speakers, David Morris, minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Kitty Hawk, and several student wearing yellow jackets led the crowd armed with protest signs and chanting “No more silence! End gun violence!” across Highway 158 for a hike along the multi-use path to the former Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern site about a mile north.