MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin students are joining a national school walkout to demand tougher gun safety regulations following a Florida school shooting.
Students from multiple area schools left class at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Thousands of students rallied at the state Capitol, holding signs that read "Thoughts and prayers are not enough" and "18th century laws cannot regulate 21st century weapons." Authorities estimated the crowd at about 3,000.
"We live in a day in age where voter turnout is decreasing and if students and millennials are showing that they care, I feel like that could mark a change,” said Belleville High School student Noah Fahey.
They demanded stricter gun laws. They want to see a universal background check created, a ban on assault weapons and the age to buy a gun raised to 21.
"In our country, we have a gun problem all over. Anyone can buy a gun at this point," said Meija Borowski, Sherman Middle School student.
"We shouldn't fear that we're going to go to school and it's going to be the last day that we're going to speak to our parents," said Amir Lee, Sherman Middle School student. "We're not stopping until we get heard today."
Speakers said politicians continue to deny that gun violence is a problem.
"For too long we have become desensitized to school shootings. We justify the videos that show our students screaming for their lives, wailing over the sounds of gun fire by thinking that will never happen in my city,” said Allison Leyer, the organizer at West High School.
Reporters for USA Today Network-Wisconsin tweeted students at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee held signs that read #NEVERAGAIN. Menasha High School students formed a ring outside the building. Oshkosh West High School students left in silence.
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