Florida lawmakers begin meeting on gun control concerns

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - State lawmakers have begun a series of meetings with school officials and others called by the governor to see what can be done to prevent another school shooting like the one that took the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

This comes as students who have been very vocal in calling for gun control reform in the days immediately following the shooting have started a movement called “Never Again.” They plan to begin heading to Tallahassee Wednesday afternoon to speak directly to state lawmakers.

Tuesday morning, Pam Stewart, the Florida Commissioner of Education, spoke during a roundtable, below images projected on a screen featuring images of the 17 lives lost in the high school shooting, last Wednesday.

“The photos of those victims are here on the screen,” she said. “I thought it important that we be reminded that, as we begin this meeting here today, why we are here.”

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho attended the meeting and hopes to see tangible results come out of this meeting. “I hope fewer words, more actions,” he said.

However, the government often moves at a glacial pace on the way to reform. This meeting at the State Department of Education is but the first step.

School officials from around the state assembled hoping to avoid another mass shooting.

“I think it’s going to be important that we gather information from those who live it everyday on the ground,” said Stewart.

Carvalho said he attended the meeting to stand in solidarity with the student movement that is scheduled to arrive Wednesday.

“I’m here to advance the kids’ voices,” he said. “I’m here to ask for comprehensive gun control legislation, comprehensive and significant mental health investment, additional funding for the hardening of schools, additional funding for school SROs.”

Hundreds of students are expected to arrive in the Capitol Tuesday night to bring their own ideas to those in power.

Some, like Brandon Abzug, a Stoneman Douglas student, spoke via phone about meetings he has so far had with local representatives. “I went to the Capitol. I meant with Representative Carlos Smith, who I’ve been in contact with for the past couple of days,” he said, “and I went on my journey. I’ve had some very beneficial conversations, and I want to show others that, as students, we can make a difference in the world.”

Students will begin flooding the halls of the Capitol beginning Wednesday morning to speak to as many lawmakers as possible.

There was a particular measure that a lawmaker from outside Florida had put for consideration. It would have allowed for a principal to designate someone throughout the school, in every classroom to have a gun, but that measure has since been pulled.

These meetings called by the governor will also cover mental health and law enforcement aspects, as well.

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