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Gun Control Debate Heats Up As Student-Led Protests Continue In Wake Of Florida School Shooting

PARKLAND, Fla. (CBSNewYork) - Student-led protests calling for legislative action on gun control continued Monday, five days after the killing of 17 people in a school shooting Parkland, Florida.

Politicians were also joining in the debate on what should be done to prevent the next mass shooting.

Monday morning, the family that took Nikolas Cruz in after his mother died spoke out about their sadness and anger. They talked about their first meeting in the hospital with Cruz after the attack.

Kimberly and James Snead appeared on a morning television program to describe what happened after the shooting.

"It was at the police station when they were going past us. I basically went after him. I wanted to strangle him more than anything," Kimberly Snead said. "Everything I wanted to say... I tried to reserve myself. I said 'Really Nik? Really?' I yelled at him and he mumbled something and I didn't hear it. He said he was sorry."

"I still can't process it, what he's done. Because this isn't the person that we know, not at all," she added.

Later in the day, a shackled Cruz looked down as he entered the courtroom and never seemed to look up as he sat during a hearing which focused on how much of the case should be sealed.

Meanwhile, more victims were being laid to rest, and surviving students are not letting their classmates die in vain, taking on gun control head on.

"This isn't just a mental health issue. He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife," said Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez.

The survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. are speaking out, demanding changes to the nation's gun laws.

"The fact that we even have to do this is appalling. Our job is to go to school, learn, and not take a bullet," said Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky.

About 100 students from the school are planning to visit the state capitol in Tallahassee Wednesday. They say they're organizing a nationwide march next month as part of their #NeverAgain movement.

"The response from our students who are still around and still able to talk, they're taking that opportunity," said Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher Ernest Rospierski. "They're empowered and they're angry."

The student-led movement is spreading. A group calling itself "Teens for Gun Reform" held a protest outside the White House.

Alumni from Marjory Stoneman Douglas gathered at a pub near Union Square Monday to raise money for the victims and offer their support.

"They're taking a lead and they're taking a stand and they're not going to go away and we're doing everything we can to support them," alumnus Aamir Rahman told CBS2's Valerie Castro.

President Donald Trump called Texas Senator John Cornyn Friday to discuss Cornyn's bill which aims to ensure federal and state authorities accurately report relevant criminal history records to the national instant background check system. There is bipartisan support to pass the bill.

"That is the first thing of multiple things that need to be done," said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) "That is fixing our background check system to make sure that all information is actually getting in there."

That bill was introduced after a mass shooting last Novemeber in a small Texas church left 26 people dead.

The White House says Trump will host two listening sessions about school safety this week, adding they say the president supports legislation to improve the federal background check system.

Separately, a petition has been started to allow Peter Wang - a student who was killed in the shooting - to be buried with full military honors. Wang was a JROTC cadet who died holding doors open for other students during the attack.

An online fundraiser has been created to help victims of the attack. A separate fundraiser has been set up for the family Anthony Borges, who was shot repeatedly during the attack but survived.

JetBlue is also providing help to local families affected by the shooting. The airline is offering free flights to Florida to the relatives of victims. It is also partnering with ride-sharing app Lyft to provide the families with free ground transportation.

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