March 4 Lives in Highland

A group of young people are hosting a March For Our Lives Rally in Highland on Saturday, along with youth planning events in Valparaiso and across the country.

A counter protest is also being planned for Saturday in Valparaiso.

The teens, who have been rallying across the country following the Parkland, Florida, shooting are asking for common sense gun safety laws and school safety.

The Highland rally will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Main Square Park, 3001 Ridge Road. The Valparaiso rally will start at 11 a.m., leaving from Valparaiso University and heading to Valparaiso City Hall, 166 Lincolnway.

The organizers are asking communities across Northwest Indiana to pass a gun safety resolution and asking residents to write to their local legislators. 

Jack Pupillo, of Valparaiso, who is organizing the counter protest, said some 100 people have already confirmed they will attend the counter rally from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Valparaiso City Hall. More than 300 others have indicated interest in attending based on their reaction to a Facebook page, he said.

"We mourn and are upset and are disgusted by the violence in our schools," Pupillo said, adding, "We are trying to stand on the side of individual liberty instead of collectivism."

Pupillo said the counter rally is a grassroots efforts, supported by no other organization, unlike the "monster groups" who are supporting the March For Our Lives rallies across the country.

"We just want to be heard. The gun community is being steamrolled. I hate to see our side is not being heard," he said, adding those gathering for the counter protest believe existing laws need to be enforced and issues regarding mental health and underlying social concerns need to be addressed.

"There is no excuse why a school has to be defenseless."

"We oppose any severe restrictions on the Second Amendment and banning an entire group of weapons is a severe restriction," said Pupillo, adding the current movement is chipping away at the Second Amendment.

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.

Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.