Students Stage Walkouts At Florida Schools As Shooting Survivors Demand Action On Guns
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Students in various schools across Florida staged walkouts to demand action on gun control Wednesday.
Video from above schools in Broward County and Davie showed scores of students had walked out.
The walkouts come as students who survived last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walked to the capitol Wednesday morning to meet with lawmakers after arriving in Tallahassee Tuesday night.
The students split into several groups. One met with Attorney General Pam Bondi behind closed doors to talk about mental health issues and later joined other students in a question and answer session with Senate President Joe Negron and Senators Rob Bradley and Bill Galvano.
Some tearfully asked why civilians should be allowed to have weapons like the AR-15 used in the attack. Negron didn't directly answer the question, saying, "That's an issue that we're reviewing."
The students burst into applause when Galvano said he supports raising the age to purchase assault-style weapons from 18 to 21.
The students also planned to hold a rally Wednesday to put more pressure on the Legislature.
"We're what's making the change," Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior, said Tuesday. "We're going to keep talking, we're going to keep pushing until something is done because people are dying and this can't happen anymore."
"I really think they are going to hear us out," said Chris Grady, a high school senior aboard the bus.
On Tuesday, Florida lawmakers struck down the latest assault weapons ban proposal, a bill that would have banned large capacity magazines and assault style weapons like the one used in last week's deadly school shooting.
Some of the survivors were visibly upset as the vote was counted.
"The next death of someone with an assault rifle here in Florida is going to be on them," said student Sheryl Acquarola.
In Washington Wednesday, President Donald Trump is expected to meet with people from Parkland and other communities, including Columbine and Sandy Hook, that were affected by mass shootings.
On Tuesday, he directed the Justice Department to develop regulations that would ban the so-called bump stocks, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting last fall, but not last week's shooting in Florida.
"I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns," he said.
The president also tweeted: "Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!"
Stoneman Douglass students are optimistic, but some are skeptical and many are critical of their state's governor.
"He may have an A plus rating from the NRA but he does not have an A plus rating from us," said student Sofie Whitney.
The Parkland students have also organized an event in Washington for March 24 called "March For Our Lives." George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have pledged to donate half a million dollars each to the cause.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.