North Texas students plan rally during NRA Convention

Groups of students — similar to those we've seen protesting for tougher gun laws recently — will be demonstrating during National Rifle Association convention in Dallas this week.

The students say they don't plan to confront NRA members but rather will rally nearby in hopes of drawing lawmakers' attention.

Once again, students are leading the movement to get what they call more "common sense" gun laws. They are the same students who organized the March for Our Lives here in Dallas last month. This time, they’re using the NRA convention as their stage.

Some members of the group are not old enough to vote yet. But together, they drew a crowd of thousands to Dallas City Hall last month to fight for stricter gun laws. March for Our Lives was a nationwide student-led demonstration.

A large group of local high school and college called “Students March” organized the event here in Dallas. They met Tuesday to discuss plans for the Rally for Reform Saturday at 10 a.m. at Dallas City Hall again.

“If I wasn't going to do it, who else would?" said college student Waed Alhayek.

Like many of the student activists involved in this movement, Alhayek says she was already frustrated by the many mass shootings happening in our country. Then, Parkland happened.

"It really woke me up because, unfortunately, we saw tragedy after tragedy in concerts and churches. It was like no one was safe anymore,” she said. “And so when you saw a group of students who are so young who are grieving really stand up and say, 'Enough is enough,' that really wakes up a part of you that gets tired of it.”

The timing of the rally Saturday is intentional. While they protest on the plaza, thousands of NRA members will be attending the NRA's annual meetings and exhibits at the nearby convention center.

Alhayek says the rally is not in protest of the NRA but in protest of politicians who refuse to acknowledge constituents who want to expand background checks for gun sales and bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

"Where is this legislation change? Where is that?” she said. “And it all starts with the leadership of the NRA. They refuse to acknowledge that this is something that is common sense and can be done.”

The students hope that about 1,000 people will attend the rally. But what's more important to them is getting their message heard.

"We're tired. We want something to happen,” Alhayek said. “We want change to happen."

The NRA convention starts Thursday and continues through Sunday. There are other protests, rallies and vigils planned by other groups.

President Donald Trump will appear Friday, along with Vice President Mike Pence, who is the keynote speaker Friday at noon.