About a hundred students and parents from a Florida high school where 17 people were killed in America’s second deadliest school shooting last week have traveled to the state capital to demand action for stricter gun controls.
As they arrived in Tallahassee, the students were putting forward a list of demands, including a ban on assault-style rifles and universal background checks.
Last week’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has reignited a national debate about the need to reform the nation’s gun laws.
“We’re here to make sure this never happens again,” Diego Pfeiffer, a senior at Stoneman, told the crowd over a microphone.
“We will not rest until something changes. We will not rest until our voices are heard. We will not rest until people open their eyes and listen to us,” said Emma Stravitz, a 14-year-old freshman.
As the students were on the way to the capital, Florida lawmakers voted down an attempt to bring up a bill to ban sales of assault rifles in the state.
The 19-year-old shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, fired some 100 shots by an AR-15 rifle.
Students said they would not go anywhere until gun laws were changed.
“I was told this was going to be hard, that there was going to be a long road. We will not leave until something happens,” Stravitz said.
“I am not going back to school until lawmakers, and the president, change this law,” said Tyra Hemans, a senior who traveled to Tallahassee.
“Three people I looked to for advice and courage are gone but never forgotten, and for them, I am going to our state capital to tell lawmakers we are tired and exhausted of stupid gun laws,” she added.
Fourteen students and three educators were slain and 15 other people were wounded in the February 14 shooting rampage.
Student and parent activists from the high school in Parkland planned to stage.
On Monday, dozens of students staged a lie-in protest in front of the White House to decry lack of progress on gun control.
Women’s March organizers have lent their voices to the call, calling on students and teachers walk out of schools on March 14 unless Congress takes action to end gun violence.
Amid the backlash, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he backed regulations to ban bump stocks and similar devices “that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
A Justice Department review of bump stock regulations started in December following America’s deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which 58 people died, the president said.
Trump has also offered his support for stricter laws on background checks.
Critics said the measures were already in the books and would not result in meaningful changes in the nation’s lax gun laws.
Before he was a candidate, Trump favored some tighter gun regulations including a ban on assault rifles. But he embraced gun rights as a candidate, and the National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of his campaign.