TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – First it was students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who made the trek to Tallahassee demanding stricter gun laws. Now a new group of people are taking part in rallies and making the same demands.
“I am a mother of three. I have three kids in Parkland schools I have to worry about safe schools for the next 12 years,” said Parkland parent Shelbie Seys.
Shelbie Seys is one of dozens of Parkland parents who went to Tallahassee Monday with a simple request. They want their children safe in fear-free schools.
“We’re going up there today to be the ones to see face to face with our lawmakers and be the ones to explain how this has affected us and ask them for change,” said Seys.
This the same day a Florida Senate Rules committee, along party lines, voted down an amendment to gun legislation that would have banned assault weapons.
“The amendment is not adopted.”
Once that was said, you could hear the crowd saying, “No! Shame! Shame! Shame!”
Earlier in the day, at a rally, in front of the Capitol Building, speakers called for strong gun control measures.
“I feel angry, angry that we let this happen, angry that we didn’t solve this problem a long time ago,” said Stoneman Douglas student Bella Urbina.
A state senator said opponents of strict gun regulation have diverted focus by playing the blame game against the FBI, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Scott Israel.
“All they’re trying to do right now is pivot your attention and our attention away from the common sense issue of assault weapons as mass killing devices,” said Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat from Fort Lauderdale.
The Republican-controlled House and Senate and Governor Rick Scott are pushing measures that would raise the legal age for buying guns, provide more mental health intervention and harden schools with more cops. They have adamantly opposed an assault weapons ban.
Democrats lashed out in Tallahassee Monday.
“It shouldn’t have got to this. It shouldn’t have taken four mass shootings in 18 months for us to begin this debate,” said South Florida Sen. Oscar Braynon, the Senate Democratic leader during an afternoon news conference.
Marion Hammer of the NRA spoke against a Democrat-sponsored amendment in a Senate committee meeting that would ban assault rifles.
“The devil’s in the details,” Hammer said. “Under this definition, I would be hard pressed to find a firearm it didn’t ban.”
At the rally, Stoneman Douglas students said young people are waging a fight to the finish.
“My voice, and the voice of millions of kids in my generation, count today,” said student Catherine Guerra to a cheering crowd.
Guerra reminded lawmakers she and other students will soon be voting.
It is the second time in recent days that protesters have converged on the Capitol to pressure lawmakers into taking action. About 100 students and their chaperones made the 450-mile bus trip from Parkland last week, meeting with lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott and staging a protest outside the state House of Representatives.
“We don’t need these AR-15‘s to defend ourselves or our country. We could do that with our voices,” said one student.
But where students last week sought conversations and lobbied for a variety of gun control and school safety measures, the group arriving Monday lists as one of its aims a permanent ban on assault-style rifles like the one used by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooter.
“They were so inspiring and really as parents we are here to follow-up with that to make sure your message is heard and we’re just here for reinforcement it is important to support these kids and not contradict their efforts,” explained Seys.
Another group also headed to Tallahassee early Monday morning.
People with Women’s March Florida boarded busses from Miami Springs to rally in Tallahassee. They are joining close to 1000 other Floridians from across the state including Stoneman Douglas high school students to demand action on gun reform.
“This is a strong opposition for reasonable gun safety laws we’ve been there every day so change is going to come,” said Carrie Feit from Woman’s March Florida.
Others taking part in Monday’s rally in Tally include members of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Broward Democratic Party and former Miami Beach Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine.