Parkland and Blacksburg come together for town hall

There was a moment of silence at the April 16 memorial

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Parkland, Florida and Blacksburg, Virginia are nearly a thousand miles apart, but have faced a common tragedy.

Thursday, survivors of the February shooting met with members of our community to talk about preventing another city from adding its name to growing list of localities where gun violence makes headlines. 

The line outside the Lyric Theater stretched down the block with people waiting to get inside to hear from the latest group of survivors. 

Inside, they showed their support for the panel that included young victims from Florida as they take the stage in a town that understands their pain. 

"It is vital that we come together, that we better understand Parkland's pain through their high school shooting and that they better understand our own experience of April 16, 2007," said Susan Anderson, vice mayor of Blacksburg. 

One by one, the panel of local student activists, Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors and gun violence protestors answered questions from the crowd about change.

According to them, change is common sense. 

"We're not trying to do anything crazy, we're not trying to take your guns away, which is such a misunderstanding by so many people, we just want common sense gun legislation so all of us can live happy lives," said Lauren Hogg, sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

But not everyone agrees with the message of the tour. A co-owner of a Utah gun shop is following the "March for our Lives" panel to give a different perspective. 

"There is a large gap between the interest of the students and the written promotional material from the promoters of March for our Lives, so there is a big gap there and that needs to be reconciled," said Bryan Melchior, the co-owner of the Utah Gun Exchange. "The students are the face of gun control in our country right now and they're saying one thing and the promoters are saying another."

As some of the group walked over to the Virginia Tech shooting memorial to pay tribute to April 16 victims, they took a moment of silence. 


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