A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing 400 miles to Florida’s capital Tallahassee on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week.
The students plan to hold a rally on Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the State’s Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws, something some GOP lawmakers said on Monday they would consider. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and they appeared shaken afterward.
“I really think they are going to hear us out,” said Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who is going on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some “commonsense laws like rigorous background checks”.
The attack last Wednesday seemed to overcome the resistance of some in the State’s leadership, which has rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of both the governor’s office and the Legislature in 1999. However, there is still strong resistance by many in the party to any gun-control measures, leaving the fate of new restrictions unclear.
Students also have vowed to exert pressure on the Congress as the aftermath of the rampage resonates beyond Florida and from coast to coast. Hundreds of chanting protesters converged on Monday on a downtown Los Angeles park, demanding tougher background checks and other gun-safety measures after the shooting. Some signs held up by the California demonstrators read, “Your Children Are Counting On You.”
Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming Florida senate president, said the State Senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to purchase any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for purchasing any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can allow semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders.