Using last week’s massive marches as a launching pad, Marjory Stoneman Douglas student leaders, alumni, parents and elected officials announced on Wednesday a new organization to continue the push to reduce gun violence and promote sensible gun control legislation.
The announcement of 17forChange, made at Coral Springs City Hall in a room crowded with students, politicians and media, follows by six weeks the shooting at the school that killed 17 students and faculty and wounded 15 others.
The alleged shooter, a former student, used an AR-15 assault rifle in the rampage. Emphasizing that the group is not opposed to the Second Amendment, Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen, said they will pursue changes in the laws that will make background checks for gun buyers mandatory, stop the sale of semiautomatic weapons, reduce the magazine capacity of weapons, and increase, to 21, the legal age for buying a gun.
Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell, a former Florida State legislator, said, “This is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” and demanded that the state pass a constitutional amendment to protect people from fun violence.
“We passed an amendment in 2002 to protect pigs and I think by 2020 we can do the same to protect people.”
Congressman Alcee Hastings called for a ban on all assault weapons, and students from Stoneman Douglas and schools throughout the county spoke of the critical and urgent need for laws that will prevent future attacks on schools.
The president of the Broward League of Cities, Dan Daley, promised that his group would stand up with the students and get legislation passed in the county even if the state doesn’t act.
Two juniors at Stoneman Douglas, Adam Buchwald and Zach Hibshman, presented their Parents Promise to Kids (PPTK) contract and urged parents and grandparents to “vote for politicians who will choose your children’s safety over guns.”
[All pictures copyright Ardy Friedberg. All video copyright Susie Friedberg]