A day after Highland High School joined the growing list of schools dealing with the aftermath of gun violence, a group of concerned constituents, parents, and students held a vigil at the Palmdale office of Republican congressman Steve Knight.
“We want to make sure he listens to us, otherwise we’re going to vote him out,” Myra Miranda told KTLA. She was at the vigil to draw attention to Knight’s close ties to the NRA.
Knight has an “A” rating from the NRA and has accepted more than $15,000 from the pro-gun lobby. Since entering Congress, he has voted to loosen gun restrictions at every opportunity, including making it easier for individuals with a certain mental illnesses to obtain a gun.
The day before the vigil, a student at Highland was shot in the arm by a former student. According to CNN, the shooting in Palmdale was America’s twenty-first school shooting in 2018. The U.S. is currently averaging more than one school shooting each week.
At the vigil, a sophomore from Highland, Sofia Avila, told KTLA she was now afraid to go back to school.
In a statement, Knight said the shooting at Highland was an “isolated” incident. Those at the vigil echoed survivors from Parkland, Florida, in chanting, “We call B.S.”
“Last night, Congressman Knight called this incident at Highland High School an isolated incident,” Brandon Zavala of the SoCal Health Care Coalition said. “And that’s unacceptable because when you talk to kids in Parkland, Columbine, Sandy Hook — this isn’t an isolated incident.”
Speaking to a local ABC affiliate, Zavala lamented that students are worried about gun violence in schools, saying, “That isn’t what a child going to school should be worrying about. They should be worried about getting good grades and getting into college.”
Last month, students in Knight’s district organized a community forum to discuss gun violence. While several Democrats seeking to represent the area showed up and spoke to the hundreds who gathered, Knight skipped out.
About a week before the Highland shooting, anti-gun violence group Giffords highlighted Knight’s ties to the NRA in an online ad, noting Knight is “bought and paid for by the NRA.”
Knight’s positions, and close ties to the NRA, were on the minds of those who gathered at the vigil.
“He needs to support the communities that support him,” said Palmdale resident Marcos Alvaraz, “by, No.1, not taking funds from the NRA, and putting our children first here in the Antelope Valley.”