Protesters call for assault weapons ban, march past Stoneman Douglas High

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Demonstrators took to the streets of Parkland on Saturday as they called for changes to the nation’s gun laws in the wake of the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Participants marched from Pine Trails Park in Parkland and past the school where, officials said, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire, killing 17 people and sending more than a dozen others to the hospital, Feb. 14.

“We’re marching to have a ban on all assault weapons,” said march organizer Joshua Flynn as he spoke through a bullhorn.

The rally for change, held to honor the shooting victims and push for gun reform, took marchers to Betti Stradling Park, located a few miles away in Coral Springs. Many of the participants were local high school students.

President Donald Trump has promised stronger background checks in the wake of the shooting and is pushing for guns on school grounds.

“The teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened,” he said during a speech at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference.

The commander in chief went into more detail in a tweet sent Saturday afternoon.

Back in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott proposed a plan to protect students statewide under a three-part proposal.

“I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental [health] issues to use a gun,” he said,

Among the measures proposed in the plan:

  • It would prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from possessing a firearm
  • Anyone except veterans and law enforcement must be 21 or older to purchase a gun
  • The sale of bump stocks would also be banned
  • Half a billion dollars would go toward school safety reinforcement and mental health
  • A mandatory armed law enforcement officer would be in every school by 2019
  • All schools would go through a mandatory active shooter training every year, including students
  • There will be additional funding for metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks
  • A “see something, say something” hotline website and mobile app would be established
  • There will be mental health counseling at every school
  • All school staff will go through mandatory crisis intervention training each year

However, the plan will not outlaw assault rifles.

Protesters at Saturday’s rally said they want more from lawmakers.

“I feel like everyone, especially students, are just scared, and we need to make change happen,” said Flynn.

Demonstrators said they plan to be back out on the street to make sure their voices are heard.

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