‘Not going anywhere:’ Shorewood students organize gun law protest from Madison to Janesville

Students march from Madison to Janesville to push for gun control

MADISON -- Students aren't done protesting for gun control in Wisconsin. They're now headed to House Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville on a 50-mile march from Madison.

A day after "March for Our Lives" demonstrations across the country, students from Shorewood organized the "50 Miles More" march -- a four-day trek from Madison's south side to Janesville.

"To those who are telling us, the young people of today, that common-sense gun reform is impossible, we are here to say that you are wrong," said Katie Eder, a Shorewood High School student.

Katie Eder and Alemitu Caldart

On Sunday morning, March 25, about 40 students rallied at a middle school in Madison. That was the starting point for their march for gun restrictions. They're calling for universal background checks on gun sales, raising the minimum gun-buying age to 21, and a four-day waiting period for gun purchases.

"We're directing our march at Paul Ryan because of his role in blocking and burying any chance of gun reform again and again," said Alemitu Caldart, a Shorewood High School student.

This undated photo provided by the Willey family shows Jaelynn Willey, a teenager critically wounded by an armed student inside a Maryland school on Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

On Sunday, they walked 17 miles, posting updates on social media and remembering victims of school shootings along the way, including 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey, who was killed last week during a school shooting in Maryland.

Some of the organizers are from Shorewood, marching on their spring break.

"We know this is hard. We know this is a hard fight, because if it was easy, it would've already been done," said Eder.

Students march from Madison to Janesville to push for gun control

The march follows nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, including a march in downtown Milwaukee that drew thousands.

The student protesters said they drew inspiration from the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for racial equality. That march ended 53 years ago Sunday.

Ashlee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said in a statement that "the Speaker appreciates those making their voices heard today."

Each night, the students plan to sleep at high schools along their route. They expect to arrive in Janesville on Wednesday, March 28.

"We really want to send the message that even though March For Our Lives is over, we're not going anywhere," said Eder.