That was the point people rallying at the Kansas Capitol wanted to make clear Wednesday as students, activists and several lawmakers rallied in favor of gun control in the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
"Going to school, you always have that kind of like fear that your school might be next," said Gavin Hoedl, a 15-year-old sophomore from Olathe South High School.
"We're like the future, and this is the America that we want to build," said Avery Cooper, an 18-year-old senior from Smoky Valley High in Lindsborg who missed class to rally for gun control.
During the rally, hundreds of students from Topeka High School marched by in the middle of the school day and were applauded by the crowd gathered around the Capitol steps.
The students, chanting “the NRA has got to go!” filled the lengthy set of steps on one side of the Capitol, with some spilling over onto the sidewalk. They held signs that said “Our future is dying one bullet at a time,” and “This is a school zone, not a war zone.”
"Students deserve not to fear for their lives everyday in schools," said Madeline Grace Hatesohl, an 18-year-old senior from Topeka High who led the students and held part of a lengthy “never again” banner.
Kansas is usually ardent when it comes to Second Amendment rights.
Last year, an effort to roll back a state law allowing concealed firearms on college campuses failed to gain enough support in the Legislature. A majority of legislators did go against the NRA’s wishes last session by passing a bill that allows public hospitals to continue banning concealed firearms.
Lawmakers this year have yet to get a substantive gun bill to Gov. Jeff Colyer’s desk. Two gun bills passed the House last month but have yet to pass the Senate.
One of those measures, a bill making it a state crime for people recently convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense to have a firearm, passed the House 120-0.
But in a Senate committee, senators tacked on one amendment that would make it illegal to possess a throwing star only if it was meant to be used unlawfully against another person. Another change made by the committee would make it legal for people in Kansas to possess a silencer if it is made in Kansas, under certain stipulations.
After the changes, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said he was “just letting it sit there for a while.”
The House also passed a bill that would have allowed 18-year-olds to have concealed weapons if they get a permit. It also would have required anyone bringing a gun onto a public college campus to have a permit.
A Senate committee stripped those provisions and sent the legislation to the floor. Currently, the bill simply requires Kansas to recognize the conceal-carry permits of other states.
Denning said on the floor Wednesday that both bills passed by the House are scheduled to be debated in the Senate on Thursday.
Inside the Capitol after the rally, Rep. John Barker, an Abilene Republican who leads the House committee that regularly deals with guns, was making his way to the House chamber for the day.
"I think it has an effect to every legislator," Barker said when asked about the rally. "If not, they're not listening."
The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.