- Students across the US are rallying for stricter gun-control measures after the shooting in a Florida high school last week that killed 17 people.
- Students planned walkouts and staged protests and rallies in Tallahassee, Florida, and Washington, DC.
- Lawmakers are under pressure to act on gun-control measures, and President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he intended to ban “bump stock” devices for semiautomatic firearms.
Students in Florida and Maryland walked out of their schools en masse Wednesday to protest gun violence in what could be a preview of nationwide demonstrations planned for next month.
Dozens of students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the site of the shooting that left 17 people dead last week, joined hundreds of their peers from across Florida to descend on the state Capitol, enraged that state lawmakers on Tuesday dismissed a bill that would ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
The crowd chanted slogans like “vote them out” and “never again,” railing against the Republican-controlled chamber, the Associated Press reported.
“We’re what’s making the change. We’re going to talk to these politicians,” Alfonso Calderon, one of the shooting survivors, told CBS News, adding: “We’re going to keep pushing until something is done, because people are dying and this can’t happen anymore.”
Students at the Florida rally wore “We call B.S.” T-shirts, according to The Washington Post. The slogans referred to their peer, Emma Gonzalez, who recently used the phrase in an impassioned speech denouncing lawmakers for inaction on gun control.
Also Wednesday, thousands of high-school students from Maryland marched at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, chanting “NRA, not today,” according to The Hill.
“After the Parkland, Florida, shooting, we students can no longer stay silent on the issue of gun violence in the United States,” a Maryland student named Daniel Gelillo said in a statement announcing the event. “Far too many innocent lives have been taken in these slaughters, all because of the easy access and availability of guns in general and assault weapons in particular.”
Students have planned a national school walkout on March 14 and a “March for Our Lives” protest on March 24.
Lawmakers appear to be under the most pressure in recent memory to enact gun-control measures, and public-opinion polls show American voters are increasingly favoring stricter gun laws.
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he had directed the Justice Department to ban bump-stock devices, a rifle attachment used in last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, and he indicated he’d be open to improving the federal background-check system.