Vigil for Texas shooting victims set for Monday at Arizona Capitol
PHOENIX — To honor the victims of last week’s school shooting in Texas — and to send a message to the governor — March for Our Lives Arizona planned a candlelight vigil at the state Capitol on Monday night.
In a Facebook event post, the student-led group said it wanted to put pressure on Gov. Doug Ducey to call a special legislative session to address school safety.
Ducey won’t be on hand, however, because he will be in Washington D.C. to discuss immigration, border security and and safe communities at a White House dinner with President Donald Trump and four other Republican governors.
Jacob Martinez, a March for Our Lives Arizona organizer, told KTAR News 92.3 FM the purpose of the vigil was to show the survivors in Santa Fe that they weren’t alone.
“We need solidarity right now and we’re hoping that tonight we can bring everyone together, Republicans, Democrats, and truly to stand in unison,” the Dobson High School junior said.
Attendees to the vigil, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., were asked to bring flowers to leave on the replica Liberty Bell at the Capitol. Martinez said the names of the victims and descriptions of their lives will be read.
March for Our Lives Arizona joined the state’s Democratic leaders in asking Ducey to call the Legislature back into session in the wake of Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead.
.@dougducey today we mourn, but we also honor those lost by taking measures to prevent future shootings.
Even though Texas is miles away, here is a thread on why you need to call a #SpecialSession
— March For Our Lives AZ (@PHXMarch4Lives) May 21, 2018
While details were still emerging about the Texas shooting, Democrats made a formal request to the governor to convene a special session to address gun violence and school safety.
Ducey introduced a school safety proposal in March, but Senate Republicans removed a major component that would have allowed family members or school officials to ask a judge to remove guns from a person at risk of committing a mass shooting.
Democrats were unhappy that their suggestions and the voices of student protesters were ignored on the issue.
The Legislature adjourned earlier this month without taking action on the plan.
After the session, Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News he was disappointed the plan didn’t advance.
“It didn’t get as far as it should, but we were able to do something around behavior and mental health,” he said. “But I do think we need tools inside schools.”
Gun violence protests have become more frequent, nationally and in Arizona, since the February massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school left 17 dead.
Thousands descended upon downtown Phoenix in March for a rally in conjunction with a national day of action against gun violence.
In April, students from across Arizona occupied the House and Senate lobbies and the governor’s office and held “die-in” protests.
— March For Our Lives AZ (@PHXMarch4Lives) April 21, 2018
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.