‘I want to be safe not shot’; 11-year-olds advocate for stricter gun laws at rally

WSMV4's Marissa Sulek reports.
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 7:30 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The first 911 call made from The Covenant School during an active school shooting came in at 10:13 a.m. One-week later students across Nashville left their schools at 10:13 a.m. to walk to the Tennessee State Capitol to protest for stricter gun laws.

Students there say their schools put plans in place so they wouldn’t leave and come to the March for Our Lives rally. But others made sure their parents got them out of class so they could take part.

As students across Nashville made their way to Legislative Plaza, it didn’t matter their school or age, they all had the same message.

“I want to be safe not shot,” says 11-year-old Eli Lacy.

“I’ve done monthly active shooter drills at school since I was 90 days old,” says 11-year-old Miller Champion.

The two boys came out on Monday because they say they don’t feel safe at school.

“He’s 11,” says Janel Lacy, Eli’s mother. “He can’t drive, but he can make his voice heard.”

She says she can’t walk into a grocery store without thinking what she would do if someone opened fire.

“What would I do to protect my children?” Janel Lacy questions.

That’s why she, along with other adults and Democratic lawmakers, are hoping their voice inspires change for their kids.

“Doing nothing is a choice to threaten our kids lives and it’s gone too far,” says Janel Lacy.

She says she doesn’t want it to go any further – neither do Eli Lacy or Champion.

“The thought of going outside and going to school, going to a friends house, or something – even coming here,” says Eli Lacy. “The thought that like you could get shot.”

Monday’s protest remained calm and outside the Capitol.