It’s been just over a week since the horrific massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but survivors have already been busy pushing for gun reform.
Within a day of the shooting, Douglas students became cable news fixtures, many calling on Congress to restrict access to semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 used to kill 17 of their teachers and classmates.
On Feb. 17, students gathered outside the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cameron Kasky, Delaney Tarr, and Emma Gonzalez, among others, led the crowd in calls to reject the pro-gun narratives of groups like the NRA.
“The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and … call BS,” Gonzalez roared into the microphone in an instantly iconic speech. “Companies [try] to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation. We are prepared to call BS.”
On Feb. 20 and 21, students from nearby districts staged walkouts and marched down to Douglas High School for a vigil.
Many of the students came from West Boca High School, and traveled the 10 miles to Douglas High School on foot.
Students from Coral Glades High School, less than five miles from Douglas, staged a walk out of their own on Feb. 21.
On Feb. 21, to mark a week since the shooting, students in the Washington, D.C., area marched to Capitol Hill for demonstrations.
Students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, took part in the action.
Hundreds of protesters, many of them students, carried signs and spoke out about gun violence outside the White House.
Signs with slogans like “We will not be next,” “NRA, stop killing our kids,” “Make America Safe Again,” and “You can silence guns but not us” were raised in public protest of the pro-gun lobby.
That afternoon, President Trump met with a number of families affected by the shooting in a televised event, highlighted by an emotional question from Douglas senior Samuel Zeif.
Zeif was one of few people at the event to actually raise questions about inaction on gun control, asking, “How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How did we not stop this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?”
Trump deflected calls for gun control, instead suggesting that we arm teachers.
Also on Feb. 21st, students, activists, and supporters gathered at the Florida State Capitol building to demand action.
Earlier in the week, the state’s House of Representatives voted against opening debate on new gun measures.
Meanwhile, students from across Broward county again gathered at Douglas High School for their largest rally yet.
Kasky addressed the crowd from atop a car, yelling into a megaphone. Later that night, he would confront Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) at a CNN town hall.
It’s easy to be cynical, to again say that nothing will change — but maybe this time is different? Only time will tell.
Let’s hope so.
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