A bus load of courageous students from Parkland in Boward County traveled hundreds of miles to lobby for gun control and face off with Florida lawmakers.
By noon Wednesday, students from near and far gathered at the Capitol to rally with the survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Students from Florida State University and Florida A&M University marched from their campuses to join the crowd of thousands in support of the high school student activists.
“We just want to stand with the students, this is what activism is about,” FAMU’s SGA Vice-President, Dajuh Sawyer said.
In just seven days, Douglas High School student-survivors have transformed into student activists with an agenda to take control of America’s gun violence issue in hopes to turn tragedy into triumph.
“I’m not trying to take away your Second Amendment right, nor am I trying to eliminate all guns,” Stoneman Douglas student Florence Yared told an enthusiastic crowd outside the historic Capitol. “But we cannot protect our guns before we protect our children.”
Seventeen lives of the Douglas High School family were taken by an AR-15 assault weapon, and the demand for change from lawmakers is not passive.
“We may be too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote,” Yared said. “And we will vote you out, and soon we will be able to run for office, and we will take your place.”
With less than three weeks left in the 2018 Florida legislative session, the conversation to enact new gun laws has reached new heights.
Students from Parkland and other cities in Florida are putting pressure on Florida lawmakers to ban military-style assault rifles and to implement extensive background checks for gun purchases.
Despite the students’ efforts, the Florida House rejected the motion to consider the ban against assault rifles and large capacity magazines on Tuesday.
Representative Kionee McGhee, who sponsored the bill, expressed his outrage with a reminder of the Eighth Amendment.
“It is cruel and unusual punishment to allow our people, our kids, and our teachers to be gunned down in the school, and in the streets.” McGhee said.
The mission to reshape and reform the position of gun laws in America has been going on for years, but never before has a group of young people taken control of the conversation like this.