DENVER (KDVR) — East High School students joined local leaders at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night to discuss gun safety.

The gathering happened in the wake of protests and students calling on the city council for change after 16-year-old Luis Garcia was shot right outside the school and later died.

This summit was a student-led initiative, one that Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said should have happened a while ago. He said he’s raised the alarm but never pressed for a meeting of this sort as these students have.

Fear of gun violence ‘every day of our lives’

Prepared questions and those from the audience pressed this panel on what will and can be done for these students to feel safe.

“This is every day of our lives where we feel we could be shot or injured or in some other way hurt because of gun violence,” said Alexander Cisneros, vice president of Students Demand Action at East High.

Principal Terita Walker gave emotional responses to the questions presented.

“I feel concerned for kids who feel like they may be running for their lives,” Walker said.

Many on the panel pointed towards access to guns as a root cause, including access because of the black market or guns not properly secured at home.

“It’s because of what students are engaged in outside of school, or worse, what they’re bringing into school,” Marrero said.

Gun control laws proposed in legislature

Lawmakers responded that current legislation proposed — including a waiting period, age 21 restriction to buy guns and a red flag law expansion — “we’re going to be including teachers and educational professionals as folks who can request a protection order,” Sen. Chris Hansen said.

Many questions centered on what will help or any potential security measures, with school resource officers falling into that conversation.

“If these youth that are going to the schools feel that the solution to having safer schools is to have officers in those schools, then certainly that’s something I’m going to comply with,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said.

Robin Kneich, Denver city council member at large, said, “There are a dozen ideas I heard from students that went far beyond SROs.”

The mental health of students was a large topic of conversation as well, as well as what can be done about the impacts these shootings, lockdowns and lockouts have on both students and their teachers.