Teen survivors of last week’s deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school swarmed the state capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday, demanding lawmakers take action against gun violence.
About 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where authorities say 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old gunman using an assault-style rifle, rode buses to the state capital on Tuesday.
“A tragedy like this can never happen again, and … we will never let it happen again,” Suzanna Barna, a senior at the high school, told CNN on Wednesday.
“Today, we’re really just hoping that they will be receptive to what we’re saying and listen to what we went through,” she continued. “We obviously want them to listen to our ideas on policy, but for now, if we could just get them to actually care about the matters we’re talking about, that’s probably the first step.”
The group joined other students and parents on Wednesday morning, marching roughly a mile from Florida State University’s Westcott Fountain to the State Capitol building. By 8:30 a.m., the students were entering the building to begin meetings with state lawmakers from both parties.
At least one GOP lawmaker canceled a scheduled sit-down with the group. State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R) is working to reschedule because of an appropriations meeting, her aide Jared Willis told HuffPost.
Others affected by previous mass shootings planned to join the rally.
Students calling for stricter gun laws faced a setback Tuesday, when the Republican-led Florida House voted against debating a bill that would ban assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Later in the day, many of the same lawmakers discussed at length a bill that declares porn a public health risk.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet at the White House on Wednesday afternoon with high school students and teachers for a “listening session” on gun violence and policy.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Willa Frej contributed reporting.