Students across US protest for changes to gun laws

World Today

President Donald Trump has suggested arming teachers could prevent future school massacres.

He spoke as he came face to face with families of the 17 students and staff killed in the Florida Valentines Day shooting.

Hours earlier, students across the US walked out of their schools to demonstrate for tougher gun control.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Just days after losing their classmates and staff they’re spearheading a new gun control movement.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida marched to their state capitol followed by others who also walked out of school to unite under the hashtag #neveragain.

One by one, survivors took to the podium inside the capitol to address lawmakers.

“Help us for our 17 fallen brothers and sisters. Help us so no one else dies,”Sofie Whitney said.

“We are not here to be told that we’re great, that we’re doing so much, because we know what we’re doing. We’re doing it so that our legislators, so that our lawmakers, will make a change,” another survivor, Delaney Tarr, added.

These teenagers have sparked a national movement– their peers across the U.S. also skipping school to demonstrate for stricter gun laws.

In Washington DC, hundreds marched from the U.S. Congress to the White House with similar demands for U.S. President Donald Trump as he came face to face with relatives of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre.

“My daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week, she was taken from us, shot nine times on the third floor. We as a country failed our children,” Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow, was among the dead, told Trump.

The President suggested one solution could be arming teachers, adding: “It’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They would go for special training. They would be there and you would no longer have a gun free zone. Gun free zones to a maniac…it’s ‘Let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets are not coming back at us.'”

Trump has opposed stricter gun control, but now backs a ban on bump stocks. They’re the devices used to turn semi-automatic rifles automatic so they can fire multi-round bursts.

The White House is also open to discussing age restrictions on buying the AR-15 used in the Florida massacre and a number of other mass shootings in the U.S.

But that puts Trump and the teenagers pressuring him on a collision course with a powerful gun lobby that opposes a ban on bump stocks and is credited with preventing previous attempts to restrict sales of assault-style rifles in the U.S.

Paul Viollis discusses student activism after Florida school shooting

Shouting “never again,” students came together from Washington DC to Florida, demanding changes to American gun laws. The mass protests come exactly one week after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people. Paul Viollis, a law enforcement consultant with 38 years’ experience, told CGTN’s Mike Walter that he’s worked many similar incidents, but this time seems different. Especially when it comes to the reaction, and the activist role students are taking on.

Students march against gun violence in DC