High school students prepared to take their call for tougher gun laws to the state Capitol this week

by | Feb 19, 2018

After a weekend of demonstrations and calls from young people for tighter gun control measures, the attention focused on last Wednesday’s mass murder at Margory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will shift to Tallahassee this week.

Thousands of people attended rallies in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg over the weekend calling on elected officials to address the issue of gun violence and to take a closer look at gun laws in an effort to prevent another tragedy like last week’s shooting that killed 17 people, mainly students.

“My message for the people in office is either you’re with us or against us,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, said to politicians on CNN Sunday. “We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.”

Kasky is one of the organizer’s of the rapidly growing #neveragain movement involving a large number of students. Their message will be heard in the halls of the state Capitol later this week when approximately 100 students from the high school, along with their chaperones, will travel to Tallahassee to meet with state leaders.

The students want state lawmakers to spend the remaining three weeks of this legislative session addressing their concerns. The trip to Tallahassee was the idea of Jaclyn Corin, 17, the school’s junior class president. She told the Miami Herald  students will be asking lawmakers to address both mental health and gun control issues.

“We emphasize the need for more attention to mental health. We know a lot of people, and politicians, would prefer that over gun control, but we want to emphasize both,” Corin said. “We don’t want to take away people’s gun rights. This movement understands that people have that right under the Second Amendment, but we just want alterations and restrictions.”

Specifically, they are asking legislators to enact a state ban on the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as well as making it more difficult for people with mental health issues to obtain a firearm.

The students are scheduled to travel by bus to Tallahassee on Tuesday. They will spend Wednesday meeting with Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, other legislative leaders and Attorney General Pam Bondi. They are hoping to also meet with Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott said last week following the shootings that it was time to have a “real conversation” about school safety adding that “everything’s on the table.” Last week, Scott called for meetings to discuss the issue, but the Governor’s Office did not indicate anything has yet to  be scheduled.

The group will assuredly be given the chance to be heard by state leaders, whether their words will lead to action is another story considering the Republican-controlled Legislature has tended to side with gun rights groups over the years. There’s also the fact that there are only three weeks remaining in the session.

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