This week, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. — where a 19-year-old gunman opened fire and killed 17 people one week ago — traveled roughly 450 miles northwest to state capital Tallahassee to make their voices heard.
Here’s what’s happening as students push for gun control:
Meetings in Tallahassee
Nearly 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made the trek, which was organized in part by 17-year-old high school junior Jaclyn Corin, along with other students who are part of the Never Again movement. According to the Naples Daily News, the students split into small groups to meet with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
A small group of students met with Attorney General Pam Bondi and discussed mental health, Corin told the Sun Sentinel. A larger group had an emotional meeting with state Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President-designate Bill Galvano and Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, the Sun Sentinel reported.
“I see my children when I see you,” Bradley said. “I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here. I know how it could’ve been my kids. It’s deeply personal to me.”
Students are also sitting down with Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran, state Sen. Kevin Rader and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, among others. They’ll also meet with Gov. Rick Scott.
What they want to accomplish
The students are advocating for increased mental health screenings, school safety measures, a 21-years-of-age requirement for buying assault rifles (as is the case with handguns), and an assault weapons ban that failed on Tuesday.
Parkland students watched as the Florida house voted 36 for 71 against a procedural vote that would have advanced an assault weapons ban bill forward.
“We know this is a long struggle and we have to do everything we can to influence policy to fix this,” senior Brandon Abzug told the Guardian. “If nothing happens we have midterm elections in November, the 2020 presidential election and beyond. We will use the power of voting, especially for us young voters who will be able to vote in the next election.”
Marches in solidarity
High school students throughout Florida staged walkouts, and thousands of activists held the Rally to Support Gun Safety Reform on the steps of the capitol.
Wednesday night’s town hall
CNN is hosting a town hall, which will take place at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper will serve as the moderator. In addition to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a representative from the National Rifle Association, parents, teachers and Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Kevin Trejos, Ryan Deitsch, Alfonso Calderon, Chris Grady and Emma Gonzalez will also be in attendance.
President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott declined invitations.