Over one hundred students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and faculty were murdered last Wednesday, are busing 400 miles to the state capitol in Tallahassee.
On Wednesday they will hold a rally to pressure Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun control laws, something some GOP lawmakers said Monday they would consider.
Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and they appeared shaken afterward.
Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who is going on the trip told the Associated Press, “I really think they are going to hear us out.” He said he hopes the trip will lead to some “commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.”
Students also have vowed to exert pressure on Congress as the aftermath of the rampage resonates beyond Florida and from coast to coast. Hundreds of chanting protesters converged Monday on a downtown Los Angeles park, demanding tougher background checks and other gun-safety measures after the shooting. Some signs held up by the California demonstrators read, “Your Children Are Counting On You.”
Students in the Washington, DC, area organized a “lie-in” in front of the White House to shame the president and Congress for their inaction over gun control.
Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming Florida senate president, said the state Senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to purchase any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for purchasing any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can allow semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders.
“We need to make sure everything is working and to learn from the experience,” said Galvano, who was among those who visited the school.
Florida Democrats believe raising the age limit and creating a waiting period to buy rifles isn’t enough. Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer of Broward County said,
That’s unacceptable. That’s a joke. I don’t see that as a restriction. It never should have been that an 18-year-old could buy an assault weapon. No Floridians should be able to buy an assault weapon.
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