Wisconsin students who took their demonstration against gun violence on the road reached their destination Wednesday — House Speaker Paul Ryan's home turf.
A day after the nationwide March for Our Lives, about 50 students from across the state set out Sunday from Madison on their "50 Miles More" march. They reached Janesville Wednesday and rallied at Traxler Park for stricter gun laws. Ryan, a Republican who has opposed gun restrictions, is in the Czech Republic on an official visit.
The students say they want a ban on military style weapons, a ban on accessories to turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, a four-day waiting period on all gun purchases and background checks on all gun sales. They also want to raise the legal purchasing age on guns to 21.
Shorewood High School senior Katie Eder told the State Journal Monday that kids may be only 25 percent of the nation's population, but they are 100 percent of the future and committed to making that future safe for everyone.
Eder, 18, said the participating students, who are on spring break this week, came from Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Oregon and other places around Wisconsin. They and adult volunteers walked about 13 miles during the day and spent nights in schools along the route in their 4-day journey.
The group said on their website that they are targeting Ryan "for his lead role in blocking and burying any chance of gun reform again and again."
Asked to comment on the students' list of demands, their march and the hundreds of thousands of those who protested over the weekend, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said, "the speaker respects those expressing their views."
"The House recently enacted new laws to keep children safe without infringing on constitutional rights,” she added in a statement.
Last week, Congress passed a spending bill that offers additional federal grants to prod federal agencies and states to send already required records to the federal background check system. The bill also includes money for funding mental health programs, threat reporting systems, and security training for school personnel, law enforcement and students.