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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Students at Patrick Henry High School took part in a walkout Tuesday afternoon to protest gun violence in the United States.

“I feel anxious sometimes at school, so many schools face gun violence and our school could be next,” said Norah Zoltnik, a freshman at Patrick Henry. The goal: to show that they are not backing down.

“ I don’t think most people of the older generations truly realize how targeting it can feel to even just exist,” said Xander Carig, a senior.

The students told FOX 5’s Misha DiBono that they chose Tuesday, the day of the California primary election, to make a point and a statement to the candidates on the ballot.

“I’m a teenager and I’m talking about how we need gun control in our country when really it should be the politicians and the adults that should be having that kind of discussion,” said Shukriya Osman, a junior.

17-year-old Osman says she and her classmates have a very real fear of a school shooting happening on campus — several hundred students walked out of class at noon for the school-sanctioned rally at their amphitheater. The event lasted 40 minutes and included calls to action for lawmakers and politicians.

“We feel hopeless, so helpless,” said Zoltnik. “There’s no stopping someone if they tried to attack our school, that would just be it. I think teachers are afraid, students are afraid, and we need gun control.” 

The students wore tags around their necks to represent how much money the NRA gets in free advertising every time a school shooting happens and carried signs to demonstrate that they feel disposable to those in power who won’t make changes to gun control laws. 

“I think all students have the power to create change in their own communities,” Zoltnik said. “Voting, signing petitions, emailing state senators– do what you can because every voice counts.”