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MSU students commemorate one year since shooting with gathering at state Capitol

MSU student Maya Manuel addresses a gathering of MSU students and supporters outside the Michigan state Capitol.
Colin Jackson
MSU student Maya Manuel addresses a gathering of MSU students and supporters outside the Michigan state Capitol.

A few dozen Michigan State University students and their supporters met on the state Capitol steps Thursday to memorialize one year since a mass shooting at MSU.

Organizers implored lawmakers to take further action to curb gun violence.

Student Maya Manuel helped hold the event through her group Sit Down MSU. Manuel said she hopes lawmakers turn students’ pain into action.

“Tragedy does not strike specific people. It strikes everyone. So yes, they might be in a position of safety. But they need to offer us a position of security,” Manuel said after the memorial.

Manuel invited students and attendees to meet with lawmakers inside the state capitol after the event.

But outside the Capitol, during the event itself, only a couple of lawmakers attended.

MSU junior Saylor Reinders, with the group Students Demand Action, said that’s frustrating.

“I think it’s really important for lawmakers to listen to us and listen to what we have to say to honor us after this one year,” Reinders told reporters.

During the event, several speakers acknowledged work lawmakers had done to address gun violence in the wake of the shooting.

That includes passing laws requiring background checks and safe storage of guns when children are in the home. Another set of laws allows courts to suspend someone’s gun rights if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Each of those laws takes effect this week.

Reinders said lawmakers need to know that students are still hurting and healing.

“I know a lot of them took the opportunity on Tuesday to say that changes were made. But I think it’s important to note that those changes were foundational gun laws that should’ve been passed a long time ago. So, it’s time that we think about what’s next, what are the next laws we want to pass and work towards that,” Reinders said.

Earlier this week, House Republican leadership tried unsuccessfully to discharge a school safety bill package from committee after a year.

Package sponsors said there’s more work to be done on the legislation.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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