- Parkland high school student Sam Zeif, who survived last week’s mass shooting, delivered an impassioned plea for stricter gun control during a White House listening session on Wednesday.
- “I don’t understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war,” he said.
- Zeif said he no longer feels safe. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to step foot in that place again,” he said of his high school.
Sam Zeif, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who survived last week’s mass shooting, delivered an impassioned plea for stricter gun control during a White House listening session with President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Zeif, who lost one of his closest friends in the shooting,said that over the last few years, he had improved his grades, connected with teachers, and begun enjoying school.
“And now I don’t know how I’m ever going to step foot in that place again,” he said.
The 18-year-old argued that it’s too easy to purchase weapons like the AR-15, which was used by the Florida gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
“I don’t understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war,” he said. “How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How did we not stop this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?”
He then brought up the example of Australia, which banned automatic and semi-automatic weapons following a mass shooting in 1996.
“Can anyone here guess how many shootings there have been in the schools since then in Australia?” he asked. “Zero.”
At the end of his comments, Zeif turned to the president and pleaded with him to act.
“Let’s be strong for the fallen who don’t have a voice to speak and let’s never let this happen again,” he said. “Please. Please.”
Later on in the discussion, Zeif spoke up again when Trump asked the group to provide suggestions for ways to prevent school shootings and argued that the country could look to states like Maryland, which have stricter, and more effective, gun laws.
“It’s not like we have to lose our Second Amendment,” he added.
Last week, Zeif tweeted a screenshot of text messages he and his younger brother, Matthew, sent to each other while both boys were inside the school building during the shooting.
Matthew told Sam that his geography teacher, Scott Beigel, had been killed in his classroom.
“Just know, I love you,” Matthew wrote.
“I love you too,” Sam texted back.
Shortly after, Matthew texted, “My teacher died … He’s sitting in the door way.”
“Scariest part of it all was knowing my little brother was right above me and not knowing if I would ever see him again,” Sam tweeted. “I’ve never really treated him the way he deserved. Not anymore. Seeing his face outside of school was the most relief I had ever felt. My prayers to all.”
The screenshots of the texts went viral on Twitter and Sam mentioned them during the White House listening session.
“I didn’t plan for them to go viral I just wanted to share with the world because no brothers, or sisters, or family members, or anyone should ever have to share those texts with anyone – and that’s why I’m here.”
Watch the clip below: