Before The Gun Protests, These Two Students Disagreed About It. They Still Do

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<p>(Rachel Ramberg/CPR News)</p>
<p>Students hold up their signs and the American flag at East High School’s National Student Walkout rally in Denver on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.</p>

As we reported on CPR News, thousands of students across Colorado walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to protest gun violence on Wednesday.

The day before, Colorado Matters spoke to two high school students with differing views on the subject: Paul Gordon, a junior at Arapahoe High School participated in the walkout, while Enzo Perri, a sophomore at Golden High School didn’t take part. Gordon supports more restrictive gun measures. Perri believes further restrictions could infringe on gun owners' rights.

We caught up with both of them after the protests to see how the day went.

Photo: Students Talk About Gun Violence In Schools
Paul Gordon, left, a junior at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, is helping organize student walkout Wednesday March 14, 2018, to protest gun violence in schools. Enzo Perri is a sophomore at Golden High School, where he opposes the walkout and says he won’t take part. They spoke with Colorado Matters Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Perri said a walkout organizer walked into the classroom to announce that the protest was beginning. "Everyone then got up, and then I proceeded to do my homework," he said. He was tempted to walk out "but I also wanted to stick to my guns, literally but also metaphorically, and just believe in what I believe."

Gordon, who organized Arapahoe's walkout, said the crowd there was in the hundreds. "As we walked out at first, it wasn't very many kids. About two minutes later I looked back up and I just saw a wave of people walking out of the building."

Still the crowd was a bit smaller than Gordon had hoped. "I could never be disappointed in what happened ... because it was one of the most inspiring shows of student activism I've ever seen," he said.

For better or worse, Perri said, he was struck by how quickly the student protests have gained momentum. "I learned how just a slight movement that someone can start can just spread like a forest fire,'' he said. "Once it takes root it's hard to get rid of that."

Gordon said he hopes adults take a message from the walkouts. "I'm hoping they see that we've been brought up in a world that kind of got pretty messed up over the last 20 years and that we're not going to just sit there and pout about it. We're going to stand up and speak out and start to fix it."