'We're here to ask for change': Florida school shooting survivors push for tougher gun laws

'We're here to ask for change': Florida school shooting survivors push for tougher gun laws
From CBC - February 21, 2018

Studentactivists from the Parkland, Fla., high school where 17 teens and staffwere shot and killedlast week marched to the state capitol inTallahassee on Wednesday to meet with lawmakers andcall for a ban on assault-style weapons.

The latest in a series of deadly shootings in schools in theUnited States has inflamed the long-running national debateabout gun rightsand the students from MarjoryStonemanDouglasHigh School in Parkland have emerged as the new facesof the gun-control movement.

The question of gun legislation and violence in schools was also central in Washington on Wednesday, wherePresident Donald Trump heard from some of the students who survived the shooting in Parkland and from a distraught parent whose daughter was among the dead.

The presidentsaid he wants to hear suggestions for addressing gun violence in schools, saying, "After I listen we are going to get things done."

"We are going to be very strong on background checks," the president said, before students started talking about the horror of losing friends and the fear they experienced as the shooter killed their schoolmates last week.

Sam Zeif, whowas on the second floor of the school during the shooting, talked about his fear and exchanging terrified text messages with his brother, who was also inside the school.

Trump said Tuesday he signed a memorandum directing theattorney general to draw up regulations banning devices thatturn firearms into machine-guns, like the bump stock used in themass shooting in Las Vegas in October.

'Shame onyou'

Students were also active in Florida on Wednesday as they rallied and shouted "shame on you" to legislators in Tallahassee.

RyanDeitsch, an 18-year-old senior at the Parkland school, spoke to reporters inside, sayinglawmakers have not taken action to reduce gun violence and instead have been guilty of using "political double talkas much as they can."

"It's not a weapon I want them to use any more. The more they do not act, the more they do not deserve to be in office," he said.

"Parkland is a beautiful, safe town, and now it's ruined," saidAlfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior at the school.

"We are just children," he said of his fellow students, but that "does not disqualify usfrom speaking out."

Calderon, who was locked in a closet at the school for four hours with others during the shooting, said students will not be silenced.

"We are here to ask for change and we are confident changewill happen," said Noah Kaufman, 16. "We know the issues, and weknow who is with us and who is not.

"This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it's a lifeissue," said Kaufman. Many in the group taking part in the march said they had stayed upall night researching legislation and writing speeches.

Carrying signs bearing the #NeverAgainslogan, about 100students from Douglas walked to Florida's capital, where theRepublican-controlled legislature on Tuesday rebuffed a bid tobring up a bill to block sales of assault-style rifles.

'I begged for action'



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