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Despite threats, students expect strong turnout at anti-NRA rally Saturday

DENVER -- Mikaela Lawrence grew up in a world after the Columbine Massacre, right in that community. She says she has always been affected by it, and after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland Florida, she decided to take a stand.

“We’re just trying to make it a little bit safer, that’s why it’s all about gun reform, and not the ban,” Lawrence said.

She’s now a member of Students Demand Action, and was helping to organize a National Rifle Association protest outside Colorado’s Capital in downtown Denver Saturday at noon. That is, until the threats started coming in on social media. One message posted on their Facebook page made many students feel uncomfortable.

“Ended their message with my rights are worth more than your lives in all caps,” said Tay Anderson, an Advisor for Never Again Colorado. The message was brought to Tay’s attention, and the group reached out to police. Lawrence says police looked into the threat, and said it wasn’t credible. It’s still enough to make the group rethink their approach to this rally.

“We don’t want to back down,” Lawrence said. “That’s not our intention, to back down from them, but we’re not going to force anyone to feel uncomfortable.”

Lawrence says Students Demand Action backed down as one of the main organizing sponsors of the NRA protest after that threat. Still, Lawrence says many members of the group still plan on attending, hoping to have an open dialogue.

That same desire is shared by Lesley Hollywood, who is helping organize a counter protest on the same day, just one hour before.

“I’m hoping we have some good conversation with people that are there,” Hollywood said. “There are two sides to this gun control debate, that not everyone agrees with the anti-gun, anti-self defense sentiment that’s going across the country right now.”

Hollywood is part of Rally for our Rights, which has held several rallies across Colorado to stand for citizen’s second amendment rights. She looks forward to a constructive conversation, not expecting Saturday to turn into a shouting match.

“There’s so much propaganda on both sides, that it divides us more and more and more and all the people in the middle just hear noise,” Hollywood said.

And while both sides may not always see eye to eye, they both hope to learn from each other.

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