MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former President Bill Clinton mentioned Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Tuesday evening during an event at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Clinton was in town to promote The President is Missing, a new fiction book he co-authored with novelist James Patterson.
The event was promoted as ‘A Conversation with Bill Clinton & James Patterson.’ It was moderated by local author Brad Meltzer.
Clinton and Patterson engaged in a wide range of topics including the Parkland students.
It wasn’t the tales of political victories and failures, stories about foreign leaders and history-making presidential politics, but the Parkland shooting survivors turned activists, who stoked the most passion in the former leader of the free world.
“You stay with those kids. They’ve been able to look into the eyes of America and say we have a right to live,” Clinton said.
In the 90’s, the Clinton administration oversaw a ban on assault weapons, comprehensive background checks and a magazine limit of ten bullets.
“I fought for it, we passed it and we lost the Congress, even though the polls showed there was just as much support for this stuff then, as there is now,” Clinton added.
“It was not a voting issue for the people who cared about it. But for the people who didn’t, for the people who were against it, it was a big voting issue. Everybody who was paranoid and thought we were going to come to guns, strip their freedom, they showed up at the polls.”
Clinton said the students of Parkland are achieving new heights in their strategy for gun control, namely by registering people to vote and urging them to get to the polls.
“They did something that I as president could not do. When I was winning the fight and we passed it, they made it a voting issue. They somehow did something that didn’t happen at Sandy Hook in Connecticut, and didn’t happen after the Orlando nightclub shooting, and didn’t happen after a lot these other things. They made people want to vote for people who would support sensible gun safety legislation, and against people who wouldn’t,” Clinton said.
On the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub attack, that killed 49, the former president sees hope in *another group of survivors.”
“That’s what you owe those Stoneman Douglas kids. Do not let them be pushed off the headlines,” said Clinton.