FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Hundreds gathered at the steps of the Federal Court house in Fort Lauderdale for the League of Women Voters rally to Support Firearm Safety Legislation.
Emma Gonzalez survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. She made a passionate speech.
“Every politician who’s taking donations from the NRA shame on you,” she said to the crowd. “They say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say good guys with a gun stop the bad guys with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are tools just like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. You say there is no way we could’ve prevented the senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. They say that we are kids and don’t know what we’re talking about and that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.”
19-year old Nikolas Cruz reportedly bought an AR-15, a semi-automatic assault weapon last year. On Valentine’s Day, he walked into his old high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with the weapon in a duffel bag.
Authorities say he confessed to shooting and killing 17 students and teachers. Dozens of others were wounded.
Wiping away tears, Gonzalez, who was at school during the shooting, called for everyone to register to vote.
Also at the rally were teachers, parents, lawmakers and some candidates running for office. They called for change and had messages of hope.
Fort Lauderdale high school teacher Cliffon Saurel said, “I wonder if it’s all just a fuss. It’s great to have rallies. It’s great to have these politicians to come, some of them really do care, some of them are here for their photo op because at the end of the day it’s about actions and you see their actions to the policies.”
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie talked about the importance of the “Four letter word. That’s what needs to happen we need to get out and vote, vote, vote.”
David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting, said he was going to do everything in his power to hold lawmakers accountable.
“This is a small step in a much, much bigger movement,” he said. “On Monday, I want everybody out working as hard as they can to let their politicians know that this is not OK. The 17 children and adults did not die in vain and we’re not gonna let this continue to happen.”
The League of Women Voters says The Florida Legislature, which is currently in session, has bills filed awaiting action that would ban semi-automatic assault weapons and expand background checks.
The League and other gun safety groups are calling on legislators to hear the bill.