At 17, Fanaeian co-founded the Utah chapter of March for Our Lives, a nationwide, student-led campaign born out of the 2017 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.
In 2018, she helped organize a massive event where roughly 8,000 protesters met at the state Capitol to demand stricter gun laws. Many held signs calling for a ban on assault weapons — like the AR-15 that Fanaeian now owns.
At first, Fanaeian felt intimidated diving into the gun world.
“The left’s idea of a ‘gun nut’ typically is white men who are upper class and see this as a hbbby that will make their egos bigger,” she told the Deseret News. “But the reality is this is a form of empowerment for me.”
Fanaeian said being involved in movements like March for Our Lives taught her a lot.
“As working-class people, we should not be disarmed,” she said. “There is everlasting violence against LGBTQ people that oftentimes politicians, on whatever side of the aisle, are not addressing, and we need to be able to protect ourselves. And because of that, I came to this understanding that the March for Our Lives goals do not align with my goals.”